Nigerian Teachers Make Daunting Demands On World Teachers Day

Unqualified Teachers, FGOctober 5 of every year has been set aside for teachers worldwide in recognition of those described as the vessels of knowledge across the globe.

Teachers have marked the 2016 “World Teachers Day” across Nigeria, with the theme “Valuing Teachers’, Improving their Status”.

They, however, do not have much cause for celebration as they spent most of their time on the streets, carrying placards to demand for better salaries and improvement on their welfare packages.

This comes as at least 80% of Nigerian states owe teachers with some states owing up to nine months salaries and others paying half of the remuneration.

Two-week Ultimatum

However, officials of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) vowed to take drastic step to address the development, as they claimed that payment of gratuities and general welfare of teachers had been handled with kid gloves.

Speaking in Abuja, the NUT President, Michael Olukoya, gave the state governments owing teachers a two-week ultimatum to address the situation.

He threatened that failure to comply would lead to the teachers embarking on a nationwide strike.

Mr Olukoya noted that the effect of the harsh economy had also made their plight worse as their hopes of receiving salaries at the end of the month had been dashed.

Lending his voice, the President of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba, called for support for families of about 600 teachers who lost their lives to the Boko Haram insurgency in Borno State, northeast Nigeria.

A representative of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Saidou Jallow, also advocated adequate remuneration of teachers.

 

In Kaduna State, the teachers lamented the irregular payment of their salaries and expressed concerns over their general well-being.

The State NUT Chairman, Mr Titus Ambah, claimed that primary school teachers were the most affected with many of them being owed up to eight months salaries.

He also complained that the teachers’ annual Leave Transport Grant, which was deducted from their salaries, had not being paid in spite of several appeals to the relevant government authorities.

Ambah, however, commended the Kaduna State government for upgrading teachers’ terminal salary grade-to-grade level, thereby putting them on same with permanent secretaries.

Low Key Celebrations

In Nigeria’s southwest region, the celebration in Osun State was marked in low key with prayers session instead of the usual pomp and parade at the NUT House in Osogbo, the state’s capital.

The NUT State Chairman, Mr Amudah Wakeel, said the decision was taken as a result of the challenges Nigeria was grappling with, especially the economic recession.

He called on the Federal Government to consider the teachers’ demand for a raise in their retirement age from 60-65 years.

Amudah also highlighted some of the problems facing teachers in the state to include payment of half salary, but gave the assurance that they would remain committed to their jobs.

On her part, the Osun State Deputy Governor, Titi Laoye-Tomori urged the teachers to rededicate themselves to impacting quality knowledge in the children.

She noted that whatever they teach would reflect on the wards and reassured them of the state government’s commitment to their welfare.

In Kwara State, teachers also made an appeal for improvement in their status.

They acknowledged that they were the worst hit at a period of economic recession.

The Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, who was with the teachers to commemorate the occasion, admitted that all their needs could not be met because of the present economic reality.

He, however, said he was committed to their needs within the available resources and urged them to carry out their responsibilities with conscience to the pupils, students and the government.

On their part, the teachers called for a pragmatic approach to their plights and urged the state government to address some of the challenges.

Unlike their counterparts, Ekiti State teachers had a different experience, with Governor, Ayodele Fayose, saying that his administration will continue to motivate and support teachers in the state for improved performance and better results.

World-Teachers-Day-in-Ekiti-State
Governor Ayodele Fayose and teachers in Ekiti State celebrating

Governor Fayose made the statement at an event to mark the celebration in Ado Ekiti, the state capital, where he rewarded some outstanding teachers with cash and car gifts.

He also donated 50 million Naira to the teachers for their achievements in the recently released National Examination Council (NECO) results, where the state came first with 96.48 percent performance.

The World Teachers’ Day was celebrated in Ekiti State in a grand style, with teachers from all the 16 local government areas converging on the Oluyemi Kayode stadium in the state’s capital.

In their goodwill messages, some dignitaries and the state’s NLC Chairman, Kayode Akosile, stressed the importance of teachers in the society and commended the Governor for his giant strides in the education sector.

Nigeria Commits To Reducing Number Of Out-Of-School Children

Nigeria On Out Of School ChildrenThe Federal Government says Nigeria is committed to reducing the number of out of school children by the year 2030.

The declaration follows prediction by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) that Nigeria may not achieve the Sustainable Development Goal for education by 2030.

This was revealed in a report launched on Monday in Abuja by the Minister of Education, Mr Adamu Adamu, at a gathering of experts, government officials and other key players in the education sector.

The Global Education Monitoring Report for 2016, prepared by UNESCO, stated that Nigeria might not achieve universal primary education until 2070.

The report examined how countries would achieve the target and also checked the present status of countries on education globally and where they would be by 2030.

The Director at UNESCO’s Abuja Regional Office, Benoit Sossou, called for increased access to quality basic education as a way of addressing the problem.

Mr Adamu, however, reaffirmed that the Federal Government was committed to ensuring Nigeria meets the 2030 target by reducing the number of out of school children.

On his part, the Minister of State for Education, Professor Anthony Anwukiah, also insisted that the 2030 education agenda is achievable with the concerted efforts of all Nigerians.

The Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) had in August expressed worry over the number of out of school children in Nigeria.

The Executive Secretary of UBEC, Dr. Hamid Bobboyi, raised the concern at a meeting with Heads of State Universal Basic Commissions across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

He said that increasing the number of children in schools was a priority for the Federal Government, stressing that there was no justification for any child not to be enrolled into the basic education scheme.

Ban Ki-moon Tasks Govt On Protection Of An Independent Press

ban ki-moonThe Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, has again stressed the need for all governments, politicians Business and citizens to commit to nurturing and protecting an independent, free media.

Ban gave the task in his message on this year’s World Press Freedom Day, with the theme “Access to Information and Fundamental Freedoms – This Is Your Right!”.

He further stressed that without this fundamental right, people would be less free and less empowered.

“With it, we can work together for a world of dignity and opportunity for all,” the UN Secretary-General stressed.

“Watchdog”

A concept note by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said the World Press Freedom Day represented an opportunity to advance the fundamental principles of press freedom and to pay solemn tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

This year’s theme promotes as always, freedom of information as a fundamental freedom and as a human right, protection of press freedom from censorship and surveillance overreach and ensuring safety for journalism online and offline.

According to UNESCO “press freedom and access to information are essential to democracy and to sustainable development.

“Sometimes referred to as a “watchdog” of political and societal institutions, journalism is also much more: it demonstrates freedom of expression for society at large, it puts new questions on the development agenda, and it empowers citizens with information.

“It provides a context in which the diversity of cultural expressions can flourish”.

Nigeria’s Ailing Education: Who Has Failed, Parents Or Teachers

The recent developments in the education sector leave much to be desired. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) stated that Nigeria’s illiteracy rate is about 45 percent.

Unarguably, the problem has a lot to do with corruption that has led to systemic failure in our society today. Yet, an uneducated society is simply a doomed society. The rate of growth and development of every nation is anchored on its level of education.

On Channels Television weekly programme, FaceOff, a parent blamed the teachers for the fall in standard of the Nigerian educational system while a teacher shifts the blames to the parents and household.

Watch the debate in the video below and share your thoughts on the matter by dropping your comments.