600 teachers killed by Boko Haram – NUT
600 teachers killed by B/Haram
The World Teachers’ Day held annually by teachers’ organizations worldwide to mobilize support for teachers and ensure that the needs of future generations are met, was marked throughout the country yesterday with a call from President Muhammadu Buhari for a fundamental change in attitude, orientation and behaviour of teachers. This, the president noted, is to achieve greater value, ideal and practices if government’s efforts at improving the standard of teaching is to be successful.
The president’s charge was presented by his representative, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Engr. Babachir Lawal, in Abuja at a rally to mark the day which had the theme: “Empowering Teachers, Building Sustainable Societies.”
The president reiterated the commitment of his administration to strengthen and empower educational institutions in the country.
The theme, according to him, is apt and explained the fact that society can only be sustained by empowering teachers and strengthening the teaching profession.
He said a comprehensive ethical framework was required to redefine what the new value, ideal and practices should be.
The National President, Nigeria Union of Teachers, (NUT) Comrade Michael Alogba Olukoya, in his remarks, listed challenges faced by teachers and drew the attention of the president to critical issues affecting the teaching profession and education in the country.
He decried the insurgence which has affected many children and teachers.
Olukoya said over 600 teachers had fallen victim of terror attacks in addition to the over 19,000 who have been displaced and are suffering great losses due to the activities of insurgents.
He regretted the trend where no tier of government could be held liable for poor funding of primary schools in the country and demanded that it should be the responsibility of the state governments to fund primary education, including payment of teachers’ salaries in line with the Supreme Court judgment of 2002.
The union leader further demanded that the retirement age of teachers in primary and secondary schools be raised to 65 years to increase teacher retention rate.
Rallies were held in other parts of the country, including Jigawa, where the state chairman of the NUT, Alhaji Usman Ya’u, appealed to the government to recruit more Science and English language teachers, saying the subjects are keys to development.
The NUT chairman in Ebonyi, Comrade Nweke Joseph, urged the state government to offset the arrears of annual leave allowances for 2013, 2014 and 2015, saying discrepancies and irregularities among other things characterize the payment of teacher’s salaries in the state.
Teachers in Kaduna State promised to tackle quacks who have infiltrated the profession according to the state chairman, Comrade Audu Titus Amba, who commended Governor Nasir El-Rufai for moving education to the next level in the state.
In Kwara State, the NUT chairman, Comrade Musa Abubakar, said the union would vehemently resist any attempt to place primary schools under local government authorities and urged the federal government to establish the “long overdue” Secondary Schools Commission for effective and efficient administration.
Elsewhere in Ogun State, Governor Ibikunle Amosun described the involvement of teachers in the country’s change mantra as crucial, saying effective teaching impacts positively on learners.
He said his government was about to recruit 600 teaching and non-teaching staff for the new Model Secondary Schools. Hakeem Lawal, the president, Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools (ASUSS) and Dare Ilekoya, the state NUT chairman, both commended the governor for teachers’ welfare programmes.
In Ekiti, Governor Ayodele Fayose gave a new Kia Soul Car to the new Headmaster-General, Mrs Talabi Rachael, while Mrs Akindele Mary Olayinka, the best primary school teacher and Mr Adeola Ife, the best secondary school teacher, got similar gifts for their outstanding contributions to the development of education in the state.
Chairman of the NUT in Sokoto State, Comrade Chika Maidamma, said there was need for the state government to increase teachers’ years of service from 35 to 60 and urged Governor Aminu Tambuwal to improve on the giant strides made in the education sector by his predecessors, while complaining about delays in the payment of primary school teachers’ salaries by banks.
In Katsina, teachers demanded the restoration of their allowances which were stopped by the former administration. The 27.5 percent increase which was stopped when the minimum wage was implemented has caused serious disaffection between teachers and government, Daily Trust gathered.
Most teachers in Oyo State shunned activities to mark the day in protest against months of unpaid salaries and arrears of pensions and gratuities of retirees. The Lekan Salami Sports Complex, Adamasingba, Ibadan venue of the rally had a very scanty attendance, but the chairman of the NLC, Mr. Waheed Olojede who is also the state secretary of the NUT, urged the teachers not to be disenchanted as the state government would use the bail-out fund to address the problem.
Teachers in Imo marked the day with a firm promise of prompt payment of salaries from Governor Rochas Okorocha who expressed delight with them for keeping faith with his administration in its quest to eradicate poverty and illiteracy through the provision of qualitative and free education. He said his love for teachers had made them the envy of other civil servants and vowed that not even the present economic situation in the country which had drastically reduced the state’s allocation can separate him from teachers. State NUT chairman, Sir Napoleon Aniche, reaffirmed the “total” support, loyalty and commitment of the teachers to the rescue mission of the government, saying teachers had not got it better with any past administration. Teachers in Ondo State commended President Muhammadu Buhari for releasing the bailout funds for workers’ salaries.
Borno State teachers during the world teachers' day celebration in Abuja yesterday.
Member, Nigerian Associate of Orthodontists (NAO), Dr Yetunde Oludare, addressing Students of Command Day Secondary School, Abuja, at the launch of the association in Abuja yesterday. Photo: NAN