…as NLC, NUT blast education ministers over absence
…UNESCO declares 68.8 teachers needed to achieve universal education by 2030
Teachers under the aegis of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), have threatened to down tools over issues relating to their welfare, while issuing the federal government, a two -week ultimatum.
Speaking on Wednesday in Abuja at the occasion of the World Teachers Day with the theme, “Valuing. Teachers, Improving their Status, the National President NUT, Comrade Michael Olukoya lamented the treatment given teachers in the country.
He said that Nigerian teachers were denied their rightful status and pride of place in society and remained the least regarded profession that has continued to suffer societal disdain, neglect and degradation.
He said: “We must sit down, assess the situation, celebrate ourselves despite the fact that we are being maligned and oppressed from here and there. It is not Uhuru, freedom is still very far from the realm of teaching.
“It is therefore imperative that the Nigerian Union of Teachers use this occasion to once again draw the attention of both Federal and State governments to issues affecting the teachers, the teaching profession and the education system and to make the following demands:
“The Federal Government and its relevant authorities are once again called upon to kindly consider the age long demand of teachers for a raise in the retirement age from 60 to 65 years.
“The Federal Government should ensure that only professional trained and qualified persons are engaged in the proposed recruitment of 500,000 teachers in order to promote professionalism and effective service delivery.
“The union calls on the Federal Government not to relent in its efforts in the fight against terrorism and to ensure that our institutions of learning especially in the North East are totally conducive and safe for effective teaching and learning.
“The NUT demands that all tiers of government should as a matter of urgency pay up all salaries owed teachers of primary and secondary schools in the federation. In the same vein, the union calls on government to see to the plight of retired teachers and to ensure that their retirement benefits, gratuities and monthly pensions are paid to them that the labour of these veterans will not be in vein.”
NUT also demanded that “state governments should appreciate and take up their constitutional responsibility of providing and maintain primary education, avoid promoting privatization and commercialization of education.
According to. Olukoya, the Federal Ministry of Education should endeavour to address the issue of discrimination in the terminal grade levels of graduate teachers in both primary and secondary schools across the federation by ensuring a uniform scheme of service for all teachers in the country.
“It is time to take the bull by the horn. I want to assure you what is customary is two weeks after our teachers day we hold our meetings and we call for situation report state by state pertaining to the demands of the Nigerian teachers. If in two weeks’ time we meet and nothing positive has happened, do not wait for any other directive, we will call Nigerian teachers out on strike,” he announced.
Olukoya expressed displeasure of teachers over the absence of both ministers of education at the annual event saying, “Look at the minister of education, minister of state for education we are celebrating education this two principal officers are not on sit.
“I am aware that the minister of education is out of the country but that is not it, I am equally aware that the minister of state is in Jos but today is their day, teachers of this country are not happy with them not to be physically in attendance, if it were in the other clime I think something more drastic would have been done.
Also blasting the absence of the ministers, the president, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba, said there was no excuse that was more important than working together with the teachers today to address fundamental issues in the education system.
He gave assurances of NLC’s commitment towards ensuring that the demands made by Nigerian teachers were addressed and actualized to enhance the welfare of teachers in the country
“All the demands that have been put forward by the NUT president is invariably our demand also as NLC and therefore that has been adopted and we are going to work assiduously to see how these demands are actualized.
“We must lose the sight that in Nigeria we have a peculiar situation, that peculiar situation needs the attention of all of us, what goes at the helm of affairs and the unions who are there to advance the interest of our members and the society at large, we must work towards resolving those issues because one thing that has come to our attention is the fact that the problems have continued to mount on without solution.
Meanwhile, a message signed by the director generals of United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), International Labour Organization (ILO) United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), has said that to achieve the sustainable development goal 4 by 2030, 68.8 qualified teachers were needed worldwide.
Country Director, UNESCO, Prof. Hassana Alidou, delivering the message said “ this goal cannot be achieved unless we we increase the supply of qualified teachers and empower them to be agents of educational change in the lives of the students they teach.
“The situation is urgent. To achieve universal primary education by 2030, we need 24.4 million more teachers. The number is even greater for secondary education with 44.4 million secondary school teachers needed.”