Professionals in the education sector in Enugu have bemoaned the low number of male teachers in schools across the state.
Most of them identified poor remuneration of teachers as the major factor driving the largely lopsided gender imbalance in the noble profession.
The stakeholders made their views known in a survey conducted by the News Agency of Nigeria in Enugu.
In March, the Federal Ministry of Education had organized a zonal stakeholder’s critique meeting in Enugu to revise the 14-year-old National Policy on Gender in Education.
Among others, the zero drafts of the policy listed the lack of male teacher models as one of the emerging issues hampering the successful implementation of the policy in the South-East.
According to open data on the education ministry website, Enugu has 10,415 teachers in public primary schools as of the 2015/2016 session.
Of this number, 8,340 were females, and 2,075 were males, representing a gender ratio of 80:20.
Furthermore, at the senior secondary school level, the total number of female teachers in public and private schools was 20,552 and males, 6,512.
According to an analysis by NAN, this represents a gender spread of 76 percent to a paltry 24 percent female-to-male gender ratio.
Speaking with NAN, the headmistress of Ekulu Nursery and Primary School – 4, Enugu, Chinwe Ifeyinwa, revealed that Ekulu’s four autonomous schools had only one male teacher.
Mrs Ifeyinwa, who blamed the deficit on teachers’ “poor pay packet,” nevertheless affirmed that male teachers were important in proper planning and school administration.
“The lack of male teachers also has an effect on the physical education of students; for example, in organized sports such as football.
“It is the duty of the male teachers to teach them these things. However, some of the female teachers have learned how to coach the boys,” she added.
According to the vice principal of Government Secondary School, Enugu, Donald Ndubuisi, male teachers play important roles in enforcing discipline in schools.
“There is a need for a balance in the proportion of male to female teachers in schools.
“In some of the big schools where students exhibit some forms of juvenile exuberances, you will discover male teachers are not there.
“This means that the government would have to employ security agencies such as the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps to help keep the school safe.
“Ordinarily, male teachers would have helped to bridge this gap,” Mr Ndubuisi noted.
In her contribution, the principal of Urban Girls Secondary School, Enugu, Dame Jacinta Ebue, described the shortage as a current and future problem.
Ms Ebue noted that while the all-female secondary school boasted 83 female teachers, it only had nine male teachers.
She also said most male teachers tended not to be fully committed to the profession because they were looking for another job or an additional source of income.
“The current situation is giving the younger ones the idea that the profession is gender-based. They start thinking that the teaching profession, especially at this level, is meant for females,” Ms Ebue added.
Also speaking, teachers at an all-male school, Union Secondary School in Akwunanaw, Enugu, announced that the school had over 50 female teachers but just five male teachers.