By: Comr. Chief E. Nwali Ede (KSJI)

Ebonyi State Chairman, Association of Primary School Head Teachers of Nigeria (AOPSHON)


13th March, 2024.

Your Excellency,

I write to you today with grave concern for the well-being and future of primary education in Ebonyi State. Knowing that under your leadership, Ebonyi State has witnessed a commitment to the welfare and empowerment of its citizens, addressing the injustice facing primary school teachers must be an utmost priority to a Governor that governs with compassion and equity.

Your Excellency, it is with this confidence in your dedication to the betterment of our state that I bring to your attention the longstanding issues plaguing primary school teachers in Ebonyi State. Despite being the bedrock of our education system, these teachers face systemic discrimination and neglect from the government.

Our primary school teachers are the foundation upon which all other levels of education are built. Each day, they selflessly shape the minds of our children, instilling in them the knowledge and values that will see Ebonyi prosper for generations to come.

Yet despite their immense contributions, they suffer systemic discrimination at the hands of their own government.
While secondary school teachers and other civil servants receive fair compensation and benefits, primary school teachers live in constant hardship. Their meagre salaries often come late, leaving them unable to care for their families or maintain their health.

When opportunities for training or allowances arise, they are cruelly overlooked. Even in retirement, many die without seeing the gratuity they sacrificed their lives to earn.

This neglect has chains of consequences for both teachers and pupils and our beloved state in general. Morale suffers as dedicated professionals feel undervalued.

Quality of education declines as teachers lack means for professional growth. And our most vulnerable children increasingly face financial barriers to their basic right of education.


1. Disparity in Salary Payment: His Excellency Engr. Chief David Nweze Umahi increased workers’ salary by 5%. Till date, no primary school teacher is a beneficiary. Our salary is below the minimum wage.

2. Inconsistency in Salary Payment: Other workers including Secondary school teachers receive their salaries within the same month but the Primary school teachers will be paid a month later. This creates hardship for the teachers and their families. It affects their livelihoods and their financial well-being.

His Excellency Chief Martin Nwancho Elechi, the former Executive Governor of Ebonyi State paid new salaries three times towards the end of his tenure. It was considered a taboo when the government realized that the Primary school teachers were included.

Hence, we were paid only two months while other workers were paid three months.

Before the end of the previous government of Engr. David Nweze Umahi, He paid exit allowance of ₦15,000 to all the workers in the state, primary school teachers did not benefit from it.

3. Retirement Benefit of primary school teachers: while the entire workers in the state including the secondary school teachers are enjoying their gratuity, the primary school teachers only hear it on the radio and/or read it on the pages of the newspapers. So many of the retirees are dead because they lack money to maintain their health. Is this justice?

Before the end of the previous regime, His Excellency Engr. David Nweze Umahi shared ‘High Target Wrappers’ to all the workers in the state, none was given to primary school teachers. Where have we offended the government?

4. Opportunities: sometimes, we attend seminars and workshops through Ebonyi State Universal Basic Education Board (EB-SUBEB) but when it’s time to pay allowances the government would quickly remember that we belong to the local government. During Elections, the government would use us as INEC functionaries and also use our schools as RAC centres but deny us allowances therein.

5. Benefits: Today, your government promised Ebonyi workers ₦100,000 which was paid within two days of the pronouncement. After protracted consideration bothering on whether to be included or not, in the end primary school teachers were only paid ₦50,000.

Before the exit of the previous regime of Governor David Nweze Umahi, headmasters used to receive an allowance of ₦1,000 per month but was abruptly stopped not minding what we pass through in our various schools in assisting to register the children of the poor ones with our meagre salaries.

6. Shortage of Teachers: there is a severe shortage of teachers in our public primary schools, especially those in rural communities. Most worryingly, many schools have less than two teachers handling pupils from Primary 1 through.

6. Yet these same pupils are still expected to compete favourably in external examinations against other states that provide adequate teaching staff. Without enough qualified teachers, providing a quality education for our children will remain an impossible task.

7. Promotion: the promotion process for primary school teachers is flawed and discourages efficiency. Currently, teachers must pay fees twice – we pay between ₦500 and ₦1,000 to the Local Government Areas and again to UBEB – for the same verification exercise during promotion. On top of this, we also pay additional fees just to collect our Gen 35 certificates, which our counterparts in secondary schools receive freely. This multiple payment poses undue financial hardship.

The catalogue is endless, but the question remains: “Do primary school teachers have a different certificate, markets, or are we considered less of a teacher?” These unfair treatments not only undermine the morale of these teachers but also put their livelihoods and that of their families at risk. It is unjust and unacceptable for individuals who play such a vital role in our society to be subjected to such treatment.

Today, our government has turned our primary schools into a money-making tool during examinations. It’s an ugly sight to see our brilliant children of the poor crying and starving themselves to pay for the so-called Unified Examinations of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd terms. Yet we were told that we have free and compulsory education in Ebonyi State.

It is questionable! The ugly effect is on the teachers who are directly involved in the collection of the said money. We are still battling with the above; we are now greeted with an increase in Common Entrance Examinations and First School Leaving Certificate fees from ₦1,200 to ₦2,500.

Where are we heading to?
Your Excellency Sir, as the leader of Ebonyi State and one who understands the suffering of his people, we implore you to take immediate action and rectify these discriminatory practices against primary school teachers.

It is vital that you ensure that we are paid a fair and competitive salary, commensurate with our efforts and the importance of our roles.

Additionally, we should be given the same opportunities for professional growth and development that are provided to teachers in secondary schools.

By addressing these issues, you will not only uplift the morale and well-being of primary school teachers but also elevate the standard of education in our dear state to reflect your aspirational legacy as a governor who prioritized the welfare of the citizens and healed their wounds of injustice through deep commitment to empathy and equity. Your Excellency Sir, your vision as contained in the People’s Charter of Needs gives us unwavering confidence that our cries will not fall on deaf ears.

Education at the primary school level is foundational in raising informed citizenry that will sustain the legacies of our founding fathers and perpetuate the advancement of our dear state. Meanwhile, when the foundation is destroyed, every builder knows the house will surely collapse.

Thank you for your attention to these realities, and I trust in your commitment to addressing and rectifying these issues promptly.

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