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Autonomy: NUT caution Government on handling over of primary education

…demand 65 years as retirement age

Isiaq Alafinju; Lukman Yusuf; Adeshina Hawau

As teachers all over the globe celebrate the annual teacher’s day, the Kwara State Wing of the Nigeria Union teachers join it colleagues by converging at the state secretariat of the union along Asa-Dam Road, Ilorin, to celebrate this year’s occasion with each other, titled Teaching in Freedom, Empowering Teachers.

The topic which was said not only to be contemporary but apt as new trend and challenges are emerging in the management of education as standard of education at primary schools which is regarded as the foundation and the bedrock for any development and the best legacy parents could bequeath on their children continue to depreciate as years rolled by.

The approval of the Local Government autonomy by the National Assembly is what every Nigerians taught would give the standard of education in Nigeria a new freedom and bring back it lost glory, but is a deferent story from the angle of the teachers in the country.  

The NUT state chairman, comrade Musa S.Abubakar cautioned the federal government on handling over primary education to local government councils saying this would continue to hunt the education sector and the suffering of primary school teachers would continue unabated.

Abubakar said, “The approval by the Senate and house of representatives on local government Autonomy has made it imperative for Nigeria Union of Teachers to sensitize the Public and stakeholders through various civil means; on the danger inherent in handling over primary education to local government authorities.
He identified the experience of teachers between 1990-1994 when primary schools were left in the hand of local government council this will continue to hunt the education sector for a long time to come, lamenting that under this period, reference was marked with incessant strike action, massive drop from school and above all proliferation of private schools.” 

The NUT Boss explained that the union was never against the Autonomy but to prevent their members from suffering and the system from collapsing, agitating for allocation from the federal account which would be reviewed upward in favour of states to enable them discharge their constitutional responsibility as contained in the Supreme Court judgment of 2002.

Abubakar added that primary education got it best during the era of National Primary Education Commission (NPEC), pointing out that teachers will not have cause to worry over salaries, pensions and gratuities when this era was revisited, hoping that the ongoing constitutional review will take care of the current challenges and put education in her rightful place. 

He emphasized that teachers need to be empowered through adequate training and remuneration, calling on the Quality Control Officers to recognize the rights and privileges of teachers during the course of their duties, saying that the era of intimidation and oppression of teachers as a result of supervision and monitoring would no longer be tolerated.

The chairman commended the state government for the intervention on promotion matters through the civil service commission and SUBEB, urging Teaching service commission (TESCOM) to conduct promotion formalities for 2015 and 2016 teachers, calling on the government to as a matter of urgency monetized 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 promotion of the teachers in the state.

In his goodwill message, the kwara state Governor Dr. Abdulfatal Ahmed, who was represented by the newly appointed head of service Mrs. Sussan Dupe Oluwole congratulate teachers across the state and Nigeria at large on the occasion of their day.

The governor applauded them on their services of building the leaders of tomorrow and its enhancement in ensuring growth and development, describing teacher’s profession as an important and vital role to the development of every nation.

He assured teacher in the state of government readiness to prioritize the prompt payment of their salary and protection from any intimidation or harassment from anybody in the cause of their duties, saying that the state government would not relent in its efforts in find last solution to the challenges facing the primary education.

Also speaking, the President, Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Mr. Michael Olukoya, has demanded that the retirement of teachers of primary and secondary schools in the country be raised from 60 to 65 years.

Olukoya, the National President of NUT made the call at the 2017 World Teachers' Day celebration in Ilorin on Thursday.The theme of this year's day is: “Teaching in Freedom, Empowering Teachers''.

Olukoya said that the retirement age for teachers in the Colleges of Education, Polytechnics and Universities was extended to 65 and 70 respectively.

He said that doing the same with the primary and secondary schools would remove the segregation since they all belonged to the same teaching industry.

“The more years a teacher spends on the job, the better he delivers his service to the learners given the benefit of the experiences gathered over the years and the wisdom of age.

“The older the teacher, the more caring and tolerant he is to the students with improved dexterity in the pedagogy of teaching required over time.
“It is for this and other similar reasons that the retirement age of lecturers and professors in the tertiary institution was extended to 65 and 70 years,'' he said.

The NUT president also called on the Federal Government to look into the plight of primary and secondary school teachers across the country arising from the nonpayment of their salaries and allowances for several months.
He said that as at the end of September, primary and secondary school teachers were owed between two and 11 months salaries in 17 states in the country.

He decried that this was becoming worrisome.
“Some state government has since adopted the inhuman act of paying monthly salaries in fractions without any guarantee that the remaining part of the salaries will be paid to the teachers.

“In the same vein, promotions are yet to be implemented for teachers for two to eight years in some states.

“This situation has brought untold hardship to the affected teachers and has expectedly taken its toll on public education with its attendant effect on the under-privileged children''.

He called on state and local governments to effect payment of the backlogs of salaries and other entitlement owed teachers without further delay.

On the issue of grade level of graduate teachers, Olukoya said that graduate teachers in the primary and secondary schools were meant to terminate on GL 14 and 16 respectively in some states of the federation.

He said that this was an act of discrimination which was unacceptable, while calling for justice, equity and fair play.

He called on the relevant authorities to extend the terminal grade level of graduate teachers of both primary and secondary schools to grade levels 17 as obtainable with other graduates of public servants.

He, however, urged the Ministry of Education to facilitate the development of a comprehensive scheme of service for primary and secondary school teachers.
Autonomy: NUT caution Government on handling over of primary education Reviewed by Unknown on October 16, 2017 Rating: 5

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