Teacher’s DayTeachers’ Day: The popular refrain that teachers’ reward are in heaven, as acknowledgment that they are at the wrong end of the national reward stick, rings true today as Nigeria joins the rest of the world to mark Teachers’ Day, Osinubi Oluwafemi says.
Stakeholders have identified welfare, training and technological development as key areas government must focus on to encourage those in the teaching profession. They lamented that government, over the years, has failed to deliver on its promises to teachers, which they said has discouraged young and brilliant ones from embracing the profession.
The Eaglesforesight in an interview gathered that, teachers were yet to benefit from the promises made to them last year on the occasion of Teachers’ Day by President Muhammadu Buhari regarding their welfare because of official protocols and lack of funds.
The two critical areas where teachers in the country are waiting anxiously for the government to redeem its promises are new Teachers Salary Structure (TSS) and the implementation of a new retirement age of 65. The TSS is expected to make the least paid teachers in the public service earn about N150,000 monthly as against the current salary of about N49,000, while the retirement age is up from 60 to 65 years.
World Teachers’ Day, held yearly on October 5 to celebrate teachers around the globe, commemorates the anniversary of the adoption of the 1966 ILO/UNESCO recommendation concerning the status of teachers, which sets benchmarks regarding their rights and responsibilities, and standards for their initial preparation and further education, recruitment, employment, teaching and learning conditions.
“We are calling on government to invest in teachers and prioritise them in global education recovery efforts so that every learner has access to a qualified and supported teacher. Let’s stand with our teachers!”, Prince Lahbash said.
“My concern is that governors have interpreted the constitution upside down; some feel that it is the duty of governors to take over primary education while local governments will only support, and to the best of my knowledge, someone supporting will not bear the most responsibility,” Lahbash noted.
The Eaglesforesight gathered also, that government is playing politics with allocation to the sector, pointing out that if successive governments stop paying lip service and adequately fund the sector, teachers will be better off.
It’s been aptly stated that, teachers change the fortune of children for the better and remain at the heart of education recovery.
When reached out to, Mr. Osinubi Oluwafemi popularly known as Klickround, the man who has been in teaching line for a spine of 13yrs, while sharing his teaching experiences, he expressed concern and mentioned that; “teaching is a good profession and a way of expressing oneself by passing knowledge to the people around”.
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“The passions to implant life without being discouraged by the poor salary constraints with it, has been major reason why some of us can be proud of being called a teacher.”
Furthermore, Eaglesforesight gathered that there are some states that have not employed teachers in the last 10 years, yet teachers are retiring in their numbers. Boko Haram cleared more than 2,000 teachers in the Northeast and Northwest, as a result, we have dearth of teachers. We urge government at all levels to take education serious and realise that teachers remain the most critical factor for national development.
“If government continues to owe teachers, we are not going anywhere as a nation. Nigerian teachers should be accorded their right of place,” Lahbash added.
Mrs. Lawani Yetunde, the CEO/founder of Yettycherry initiatives also lamented that despite Government’s promise to transform teachers’ lives, nothing has happened.
She said: “This is one area I think government needs to be serious with, if government can be faithful to that promise, teachers will not use that money on themselves alone, many of us will be buying instructional materials to use in the classrooms. We will not wait for government to get laptops for us, teachers will have enough strength and capability to buy tools, train themselves and do things.
“Teachers’ welfare is terrible, if this is improved upon, it will lift the profession. Once these two are looked into, teaching profession will be better and students will be better for it.”
In the same vein, teachers in low cost private schools have appealed to government to consider them in the implementation of some of its welfare packages, such as healthcare.
“Teachers provides the power to education that brings many people to the limelight today. I am not teaching for recognitions but the passions keeps me doing it more better. And my joy is to seeing those I have teach in the past and now, progressing in all ramifications of life.”
“Politicians and NGO’s should support those among us who have extraordinary ideas on how to shape the future of these children, and there should be rewards for those who are doing great in the profession”, Mrs Lawani Yetunde said.
She noted that if low cost schools are not in existence, the number of out-of-school children would have increased.
Prince Lahbash also said, teacher’s welfare should be top priority. He said a situation where teachers are poorly paid or deprived of their entitlements after retirement is unacceptable.
“Lahbash after engaging few teachers, later concluded and emphasized that the situation of those in private sector, especially low cost schools, is quite pitiable because they are just on their own. So, when government is making plans for those in public schools, they should remember teachers who are also in low-cost schools.