Thursday, October 22, 2020
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Improved Conditions of service for Teachers

The World Teachers’ Day, also known as International Teachers’ Day, was observed last Monday October 5, in Nigeria   with good news for the country’s teachers.

President Muhammadu Buhari  used the occasion to announce the approval  of  a special salary scale for the nation’s teachers as well as increasing  their years of service from 35 to 40.

The President made the announcement,  as the government’s gesture towards  motivating  these professionals whose  roles  in the success of educational  sector cannot be over stressed .What is more, for  years, teachers in the country  have been  agitating  for an increase in their retirement age, and salary as a whole.

President Buhari, who was represented by the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu,  at the event to mark   Day announced the changes in teachers’ salary scale and retirement age in Abuja .

The theme for this year’s celebration was: “Teachers: Leading in Crisis, Reimagining the Future,” reflects the resilience of teachers and school administrators globally amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We wish to welcome the Federal Government ‘s decision to increase the salary of teachers across board, but to equally increase their retirement age. This will no doubt make this class of hardworking professionals to give their best for the improvement of the nation’s educational sector. We equally welcome the directive of the President to the effect that  

 the ministry should facilitate the implementation of the new salary scheme, saying it would encourage teachers to deliver better service. According to him, teachers have the power to shape and reshape the lives of young people and enhance their potential. According to the nation’s leader:“Only great teachers can produce excellent people and students that will make the future of our country great.

A positive or negative influence of a teacher on any child will have an effect on that child. Therefore, the Federal Government is ensuring quality education.”He said his administration had resolved to ensure quality education of teachers by giving priority to continued professional development. He emphasized that the future of the country would depend on quality education for children and that the quality of teachers would depend on motivation.

He said, “To address these challenges, my administration has approved the following for teachers and the teaching profession. That in order to attract investment in the teaching profession, the quality of the introduction of a bursary award has been restored.

“There will be a special pension scheme to enable the teaching profession to retain its experienced talents as well as extend teachers retirement age to 65 years and the duration of teaching years to 40 years.”He added that his administration had also approved the building of low-cost housing for teachers in rural areas, sponsorship of teachers, prompt payment of salary, and timely promotion to eliminate stagnation, to motivate and restore lost glory to teachers and teaching in the country. 

We welcome the Federal Government for its package for the teachers who have been making demands for improved welfare and general conditions of service over the years. It is heart warming  the gesture is coming at a trying economic period occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced the economy into recession. 

There are some gray areas the Federal Government should make haste to address. For instance, the automatic employment for Education graduates. Will it affect graduates from federal institutions alone or the states as well? Will the Federal Government give the states special funds for the increased teachers’ salaries? 

How about the bursary or scholarship grants? Will the package be extended to state institutions as well or limited to students in federal institutions? Many more areas deserve clarifications.

Nevertheless, in line with the saying that to whom much is given, much is also expected, we enjoin the teachers to reciprocate the gesture by upping their commitment towards the teaching of the wards under them and contributing to the overall educational development of the country. In this regard,  we call for better understanding towards less industrial actions, especially in the higher  institutions where such have taken so much toll on the nation’s economy.

Above all, the teachers should use the Day coupled with the government’s gesture to work towards improving their image that have been rubbished by the few bad eggs among them in cases of corruption towards their pupils and students especially in areas of sex for marks in examinations and other forms of corruption, most especially in the nation’s higher institutions. 

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