Mali Teachers Strike Over COVID-19 Concerns As Schools Reopen

Malian pupils wear face masks in the classroom of a school as the government decided to resume lessons after two months of closure due to the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus, in Bamako on June 2, 2020. MICHELE CATTANI / AFP
Malian pupils wear face masks in the classroom of a school as the government decided to resume lessons after two months of closure due to the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus, in Bamako on June 2, 2020. MICHELE CATTANI / AFP

 

Teachers in the West African state of Mali went on strike Tuesday, the first day schools reopened after being closed for two months, over fears of inadequate protection against coronavirus.

Details of the number of students affected were unavailable, but seven teachers’ unions are striking, officials said, in a move that will hit public primary and secondary schools, as well as teacher-training colleges.

The government shut schools to curb coronavirus in late March. These reopened on Tuesday, but only for final year students who are facing exams.

Sambou Diadie Fofana, the general secretary of Mali’s National Union of Secondary School Teachers, told AFP that the strike was triggered by a “lack of measures (taken) in schools to protect everyone”.

Authorities have recorded 1,351 coronavirus cases in the country to date, with 78 fatalities.

Mali’s education ministry did not immediately respond about the number of students and teachers who returned to school on Tuesday.

In a meeting with education organisations on Monday, Mali’s Education Minister Mahamadou Famanta promised that facemasks and hand-washing kits would be available in schools, local media reported.

Moussa Diallo, 41, a unionised public-school teacher in the capital Bamako, said that soap and water had been made available in “several places” in his school.

Malian teachers also walked out of classrooms in January — before coronavirus hit — over a pay dispute.

Authorities had promised salary hikes in October 2016, which never transpired.

FG To Engage More Qualified Teachers To Increase Teacher-To-Pupil Ratio

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the Federal Government is ready to engage more qualified teachers to increase the teacher-to-pupil ratio in the country.

The President said this on Tuesday in Abuja when he received the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT).

He acknowledged that Nigeria has a deficit of teachers, which his administration is addressing through the N-Power Teach Volunteers scheme under National Social Investment Programme (NSIP).

‘‘We have created a dedicated platform under the National Social Investment Programme called N-Power Teach, which engages qualified graduates to man the gaps of basic education delivery in Nigeria,” he said.

“These N-Power Teach Volunteers are deployed as teacher assistants in primary schools across Nigeria to support existing teachers.

“The aim of this, and many other Government programmes, is to increase the teacher-student ratio at the primary school level thereby enhancing the quality of students moving to secondary schools.

“I want to take this opportunity to ask all members of Nigeria Union of Teachers to support these programmes and encourage as many qualified and willing graduates to enrol in the teaching profession,”.

Speaking further, the president described teaching as one of the noblest of professions.

“It shapes the character, calibre and future of individuals and nations. You and I were all taught by teachers who moulded our persons and influenced our future. No price is too high for good rewards,” he said.

The President also used the occasion to pay tribute to teachers, noting that they have been at the forefront of cultivating young minds to be innovative and inventive.

“Today, we live in a dynamic world where science and technology drives innovations that virtually touch every aspect of our lives.

“The foundations of today’s changes can be attributed to teachers who, decades ago, in one way or another, shaped the minds of young men and women who eventually grew to become global innovators and inventors from whose works we are benefiting today.

“Nigerians, both at home and abroad, are part of this global breed of impactful change agents.

“Almost everyday, Nigerians are inventing new products or improving existing ones. It is, therefore, our collective duty to continue to encourage and cultivate these minds, by increasing resources available for research and development and improving work environment,” he said.

In his remarks, the NUT President, Mohammed Idris, commended the Buhari administration’s over what he described as the numerous groundbreaking strides in the education sector.

He said teachers in the nation’s primary and post-primary schools identify with the giant strides of the Buhari administration, including;

Gigantic gains in the anti-corruption crusade, technical defeat of Boko Haram terrorists in the North East, restoration of teaching and learning in the schools of the North-East geo-political zone that were affected by insurgency, securing the release of Dapchi schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram insurgents.”

The union leader also praised the Buhari government for sustaining the National School Feeding Programme, establishing the National Secondary Schools Commission to regulate secondary education and the proposed establishment of six federal colleges of education across the geo-political zones of the country.

Presenting some pressing challenges of the teachers to the President, the NUT leader appealed for presidential assent to the Bill on Teachers Retirement Age, and the Teachers Special Salary Structure (TSSS), among others.

According to Idris, the Teachers Retirement Age, when signed into law, will improve teacher-to-pupil ratio in the country, improve teacher’s retention rate in public primary and secondary schools and “revolutionise and strengthen the profession for the wellbeing of the nation’s schools.”

Fayemi Stuns Teachers, Announces Payment Of N30,000 Minimum Wage From October

Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, addressing teachers at the Oluyemi Kayode Stadium, Ado Ekiti on October 5, 2019.

 

 

Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has announced the commencement of the implementation of the new minimum wage of N30,000 in the state from October.

He made the announcement on Saturday at an event to commemorate the World Teachers’ Day in Ado, the state capital.

“The government has concluded plans to ensure we commence the payment of minimum wage of N30,000 with effect from this month (October),” the governor said.

The governor’s declaration took the teachers by surprise, a development that sparked loud celebration at the Ekiti State Stadium (Oluyemi Kayode Stadium, Ado Ekiti).

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He premised the announcement on the need for an improved living standard for workers which would by extension motivate them to drive critical sectors with utmost zeal.

Governor Fayemi, who is also the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, presented cheques of N500,000 each to the best teachers in the primary and secondary school categories, among other prizes and promises to the teachers.

The beneficiaries are Mr Henry Asubiojo of Amoye Grammar School; Mr Tajudeen Olaoye of Anglican Primary School, Esun Ekiti and Mrs Mojisola Ehinafe of Technical School, Ado Ekiti.

Gunmen Abduct Six Female Students, Two Teachers In Kaduna

Chief Imam’s Son, Two Others Kidnapped In Ogun Community

 

Gunmen suspected to be kidnappers have abducted six students and two teachers from a private secondary school in Kaduna State.

The Public Relations Officer of the State Police Command, Mr Yakubu Sabo, confirmed the abduction to Channels Television on Thursday.

According to him, the incident took place at Kakau Daji, a village located behind the Kaduna Refining and Petrochemicals Company (KRPC) in Chikun Local Government Area of the state.

Sabo said the gunmen invaded the school through a porous fence in the early hours of Thursday morning, went straight to the female hostel and abducted the students.

He added that the two teachers residing inside the school were also kidnapped by the bandits and their whereabouts yet unknown.

The Command’s spokesman explained that a combined team of Police Mobile Force and Anti-Kidnapping Squad have launched a manhunt of the kidnappers with a view to rescuing the victims and apprehending the culprits.

He also advised proprietors of private schools to beef up their premises with adequate security personnel in order not to expose their students to any form of attack.

Ambode Approves Recruitment Of Additional 1,200 Teachers

Ambode Approves Recruitment Of Additional 1,200 Teachers
Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode (file)

 

Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, has approved the recruitment of additional 1,200 teachers for the Junior and Senior Secondary schools in the state.

The Deputy Director of Public Affairs at the State Ministry of Education, Adesegun Ogundeji, revealed this in a statement on Friday.

Governor Ambode had hinted at the recruitment when he addressed residents and stakeholders at the last quarterly town hall meeting held recently at the Ibeju Lekki area of the state.

He promised that his administration would employ more teachers in public schools to meet up with the manpower required to cover all public schools across the state.

Confirming the development in the state, Deputy Governor of the state, Mrs Idiat Adebule, said the 1,200 teachers was an addition to the 1000 teachers which the governor had approved for recruitment into primary schools in the state.

Adebule, who oversees the affairs of the State Ministry of Education, disclosed that guidelines for the application would be released soon in accordance with the Civil Service Rules.

She was hopeful that the development would further aid teaching and learning in the public schools, stressing that it was attracting more enrollment in the last three years.

The deputy governor attributed the progress to the government efforts towards improving infrastructure and welfare of teaching and non-teaching staff in its service.

She noted that the improved facilities and staff motivation were evident in the high-performance rate of the students of the state in local and international competitions.

Teachers Jailed For Cheating In Senegal

Senegal on the map                                                                                                      Credit: Google Map

 

A Dakar court jailed a group of teachers for up to five years for cheating in high school exams, a lawyer for the defendants said on Thursday.

Forty-two people — including a headmaster, teachers and students — were accused of charges including “criminal conspiracy, fraud and fraudulently obtaining undue material benefits” after baccalaureate papers were leaked in July 2017.

The scandal resulted in the cancellation of French and history-geography tests after topics were circulated on social media, including WhatsApp.

A headmaster at a provincial high school was sentenced to five years in prison and fined 500,000 francs (760 euros) after the trial on May 24.

A teacher in Dakar was given two years, a fine of 18 million francs (more than 27,000 euros) in addition to a confiscation of property, according to the lawyer.

Other sentences handed down to pupils and teachers ranged from two months suspended to one year.

One student was released, while others walked free after spending several months in detention.

The education sector in Senegal has been hit by several crises in recent years, including repeated strikes by staff and students.

The recurring disruptions have led to a drop in the quality of education, according to specialists, forcing many parents to opt for private schooling.

AFP

Kaduna NUT Commends Govt Over Education Reforms

Propaganda Won’t Derail Education Reform In Kaduna – El-Rufai
File photo

 

The Kaduna State chapter of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) has commended the state government for what they describe as its giant strides towards revamping the education sector and making learning more conducive in the state.

In a letter signed by its Assistant Secretary General, Adamu Ango on Friday, the NUT praised Governor Nasir El Rufai for the distribution of instructional materials to all primary and secondary schools in Kaduna state, ranging from textbooks, whiteboards, teachers manual, chalk and other library materials.

In addition, the union commended the government for providing motorcycles for monitoring and supervision of schools in all 23 local governments in the state.

According to the NUT, El Rufai also deserves praises for the construction and renovation of public primary and secondary schools throughout the state, as well as the provision of continuous teachers’ education programmes, training and workshops for its members.

The state NUT had held several protests last year and also embarked on an industrial action over series of reforms that the government was embarking upon in the education sector.

One of the major moves by the government was the sack of over 21,000 teachers who failed a competency test in June 2017.

While the teachers and the members of Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), had protested against the move, the governor insisted then that no amount of protests will make the government change its position.

According to him, education is one of the foundational components of building a modern society so quality education for every child in the state was not an issue to be compromised.

He said: “This is a problem that we confronted within months of coming into office and we took extraordinary measures to steady the situation.

“We knew there would be a resistance but for us, education is one of the foundational components of building a modern society and we are not going to compromise on the quality of education and the quality of education relies on the quality of the teacher more than any other tool or infrastructure.”

Kaduna Govt Increases Teachers’ Salaries By 32.5%

Kaduna Govt Increases Teachers' Salaries by 32.5%
A file photo of Kaduna State Governor, Nasir-El-Rufai // Source – @elrufai

 

The Kaduna State Government says it has increased the salary of public school teachers by 32.5 per cent.

The State Commissioner for Education, Science, and Technology, Ja’afaru Sani, told reporters at his office on Thursday that the increment was part of ongoing reforms in the education sector.

He explained that 27.5 per cent would be added to all teachers’ salary while the other five per cent would serve as an incentive for teachers posted to rural areas.

Mr Sani noted that the increase in the salaries of teachers has placed them above other civil servants in the state, and it was aimed at attracting the best hands to the teaching profession.

He equally announced that free accommodation and other incentives would be provided for them, especially for those serving in rural communities.

According to the Commissioner, the state government took the measure in order to retain qualified and professional teachers posted to rural areas.

He also informed journalists that the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) would post the first batch of 10,000 newly recruited teachers to primary schools within the next two weeks.

The state government had said it would sack more than 21,000 teachers who fail failed a competency test conducted by SUBEB in June 2017.

The development drew mixed reactions from stakeholders in Kaduna State and other parts of the country, as some said it would help to save the future of the younger generation.

Despite the threat by the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) in the state, Governor Nasir El-Rufai insisted that there was no going back on the decision.

The NUT members later proceeded on an industrial action which lasted for about 10 days, during which they were joined by labour unions from across the country to protest the sacking of the teachers.

However, the government and the teachers’ union later came into terms in which the government said it was recruiting new teachers and asked affected members of the union who feel they are qualified enough to apply for the job.

Meanwhile, some of the applicants commended the process of recruitment into the teaching profession, which they said would enhance quality in the state’s education sector.

Enugu Govt Warns Teachers Against Negligence

Enugu Govt Warns Teachers Against Negligence
File photo of a classroom

 

The Enugu State government is worried about what it described as ‘deliberate absenteeism and lateness’ to duty by teachers in public schools across the state.

To this end, the government warned erring teachers on Friday to desist from such acts as they have grave consequences on students.

Chairman of the Enugu Science Technical and Vocational Schools Management Board (STVSMB), Mr Obi Kama, gave the warning when he led members of the board on a supervisory tour of some technical schools in the state.

He said the government would not hesitate to take decisive steps to nip the ugly situation in the bud, stressing that, “a situation where principals and teachers report late to work or don’t come at all” will no longer be tolerated.

At the Technical College, Amofia-Affa, where the principal and some teachers were not present as at 8:15 am, Kama stressed the need for them to be conscious of their duty by reporting to work on time.

He also advised them to change their way of doing things, noting that coming to school late or failing to teach the students would be viewed as sabotage.

The STVSMB chairman further told teachers who stay outside their place of posting to relocate to their official workplace to avoid the excuses of absenteeism and late coming.

He maintained that the era of ghost workers in schools had gone and warned that any teacher who indulged in such act would have him or self to blame.

The team also visited the Technical College, Umuoka, where Kama decried the sorry state of the school’s Engineering Workshop.

He, however, said the board was already addressing the state of workshops in technical schools as renovation would commence very soon.

Kaduna Govt Asks Sacked Teachers To Reapply For Job

Kaduna Govt Asks Sacked Teachers To Reapply For Job
File photo of a classroom

 

The Kaduna State government has asked sacked teachers to reapply for job in the ongoing recruitment of 25,000 new qualified teachers for public primary schools in the state.

Commissioner of Education in the state, Mr Jafaru Sani, announced this on Sunday during a press conference at his office in Kaduna.

This followed the sacking of more than 21,000 unqualified teachers by the state government after they failed a controversial competency test conducted by the government in June 2017.

Mr Sani said government has received at least 43,000 applications from prospective teachers in public schools in the state to fill up 25,000 vacancies.

He also asked any of the sacked teachers that feels qualified and interested in the teaching profession to reapply for a job in the ongoing recruitment of 25,000 new qualified teachers for public primary schools in the state.

The commissioner, who said about 12,000 of the sacked teachers had already reapplied, explained that the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) has introduced a continuous recruitment programme which gives a window of opportunity for every willing teacher to apply and be considered for the job.

On the suspension of the 10-day indefinite strike by the state chapter of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), he said the union did so on their own volition having seen the need to help save future generations from servitude by ensuring that quality public education is offered in the state.

The sacking of the teachers had sparked reactions from labour unions and groups within and outside Kaduna State.

Although the dust seems to be settling down following the suspension of the strike by the NUT, the state government maintained that the issue of sanitising public schools in the state was very crucial and required courage, honesty and sincerity.

In his words, Sani said: “On Monday, 15th January 2018, the government disclosed that the Kaduna State Universal Basic Education Board had completed marking the scripts of the 43,000 applicants that responded to our teacher recruitment notice.

“Yesterday, Saturday, 20th January 2018, SUBEB invited the over 27,000 applicants that were shortlisted after the first recruitment test for interviews from Wednesday, 24th January 2018. SUBEB is working to ensure that the first batch of teachers who meet the required standards of knowledge, training and certification are available for deployment in schools by February 2018.

“Once this batch of recruitment is successfully concluded, SUBEB will issue further notices as appropriate to enable the government to receive applications from interested candidates and to test, interview and employ new teachers in the numbers that are required to adequately service the 4250 public primary schools in the state.

“This necessary effort to recruit qualified teachers for our public primary schools met needless resistance from some quarters. But this government did not waiver because it has a duty to the two million children in public primary schools and their parents; to provide the children with a ladder for social mobility, buoyed by knowledge, skills and the personal attitudes that will enable them to compete in the race of life with utmost confidence and competence.

“The government led by Mr Nasir El-Rufai is firmly committed to the idea that the children of the poor are entitled to a decent education and is determined to enhance the teaching standards and the learning environment to attain this goal. Our public primary schools will no longer be the dumping ground for persons who have no business near any of our schools, not to mention being unfortunately mistaken for teachers.

“I wish to put on record our firm appreciation to the ordinary masses of Kaduna State, who as parents, understood that it is them and their offspring that will benefit from the reforms that we are undertaking in the education sector. The understanding and support of these parents ensured that all the sentiments and false narratives that were mobilised to compel us to knowingly retain or recall unqualified teachers had zero impact. We also express gratitude to our communities for their firm stance in favour of the right of young children to quality education.

“Anyone who expected that strike action would make us retreat from a position of principle was mistaken. It is our expectation that everyone in the education sector now recognises that there will be a relentless emphasis on teaching standards and that this government will not permit any slip. No vested interests will stand between our children and our obligation to train them well.

“In recruiting the 25,000 new teachers, there would be no compromise of standards in terms of testing and certificate verification.”

Kaduna Teachers Call Off Indefinite Strike

Kaduna Teachers Call Off Indefinite Strike
A file photo of teachers during a rally

 

The Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) in Kaduna State of has called off its indefinite strike.

NUT Chairman in the state, Mr Titus Amba, announced this on Thursday in Kaduna State, barely two weeks after the industrial action began.

The announcement was contained in a statement jointly signed Mr Ambah and the assistant secretary of the union, Adamu Ango, following an emergency meeting of the State Executive Council (SWEC) held in the state capital.

The 10-day strike began on Monday, January 8, in protest of the sack of 21,780 teachers in the public primary schools by the state government for failing a controversial competency test in June 2017.

NUT, however, said the strike was called off after the government offered the sacked teachers another opportunity for consideration under the State Universal Education Board (SUBEB) programme of continuous recruitment.

The union leadership further pledged to support the state government effort towards ensuring qualitative education in the state.

They also commended the teachers for remaining united and resolute in the struggle, as well as the leadership of the labour movement and those who identified with them during their struggle.

Part of the statement read; “The State Wing Executive Council (SWEC) of NUT Kaduna commends the above decision of the governor and sees in it an opportunity to resolve the impasse between the teachers in Kaduna State and the state government; the end results of which will be an improvement in service delivery in our public schools.

“In the light of the above, SWEC unanimously resolved to reciprocate the gesture of the Kaduna State government by calling off with immediate effect the indefinite strike embarked upon by teachers in the public schools and secondary schools in Kaduna State.

“SWEC hereby extends its hand of fellowship to the Kaduna State government and implore it to always engage the NUT in all matters relating to the implementation of service delivery in the education sector and teachers’ welfare”.

Kaduna Teachers Begin Indefinite Strike

Kaduna Teachers Begin Indefinite Strike
A file photo of teachers during a protest

 

Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUJ) in Kaduna State on Monday commenced an indefinite strike to protest against the sacking of over 21,000 teachers by the state government.

The union directed all teachers in the state to remain at home until the state government reverses its decision after the sacked primary school teachers scored below 75 per cent in a competency test conducted for them in June 2017.

The directive was contained in a notice served to NUT members across the state and signed by the union Chairman and Assistant Secretary-General, Audu Amba and Adamu Ango respectively.

The NUT explained that the decision to commence the industrial action followed the expiration of the two weeks’ notice it gave to the state government to rescind the decision.

They also criticised the government’s decision to proceed with the sack despite a suit at the National Industrial Court on the matter.

However, the state government is not taking the matter with kid gloves as it warned public school teachers not to obey the directive by the union.

In a statement signed by Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s spokesperson, Mr Samuel Aruwan, the government warned that any teacher who is absent from work would be treated with the consequences that pertain to absconding from duty under the Public Service Rules.

The statement read: “There can be no doubt that state will take firm and decisive disciplinary action against personnel who absent themselves from duty, including dismissal from service.

“This is an illegal action, and will not achieve its aim of derailing the education reforms being implemented by the government. The Kaduna State Government wishes to inform the public that it has instructed its education administrators to open registers in all its schools, starting from Monday, January 8, 2018.”

The government insisted that there is no going back in its decision, stressing that there is no amount of blackmail that will make it retain unqualified teachers in service.

They added that they won’t mortgage the future of two million primary school pupils because failed teachers “are shamelessly mobilising sentiment”.