• Extends retirement age to 65, service years to 40 • Ekiti teacher, Olaoluwa, wins best teachers’ award
From Fred Ezeh Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja and Felix Ikem, Nsukka
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved a new special salary scale for teachers in basic and secondary schools, including provisions for rural posting allowance, science teachers allowance and peculiar allowance.
He also approved special pension scheme that would enable the teaching profession retain its experienced talents, and also extended teachers’ retirement age to 65 years and teaching service years to 40.
The president also reintroduced bursary award to students in universities and colleges of education with assurance of automatic employment upon graduation.
He also directed the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) to make financial provisions for teaching practice in universities and colleges of education.
President Buhari who spoke through the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, at an event to mark the 2020 World Teachers Day, in Abuja, yesterday, said the special packages was to attract and retain the best brains in the teaching profession and also encourage best graduates to take up careers in the teaching profession.
In order to motivate and restore the lost glory of teachers, the president also approved the building of low cost houses for teachers in rural areas, expansion of annual Presidential Teachers and Schools Excellence Award to cover more categories and for outstanding winners to be considered for National Awards and National Productivity Order of Merit (NPOM) awards.
“I have also ordered that there should be free tuition and automatic admission for biological children of teachers in their respective schools to encourage and retain them in the system.
“I have directed the Minister of Education to ensure accelerated implementation of these policies and measures in collaboration with states and local governments, office of head of service of the federation, national salaries, income and wages commission, and other relevant agencies.”
President, Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Dr. Nasir Idris, in his remarks, described the packages as special teachers day gift from the President.
He assured him that more contributions would come from the teachers as regards the development of Nigeria.
Meanwhile, a teacher from Amoye Grammar School, Ikere Ekiti, Ekiti State, Asubiojo Henry Olaoluwa, was crowned as the best public secondary school teacher in Nigeria.
Also, Aliyu Alhasan from IPDI, Minna and Akpan Eno from St. Joseph’s CRS school, Iboko Offot, Uyo emerged first and second runners-up, respectively in the 2020 public school teachers award category.
Similarly, Istifanus Caroline, teacher from ECWA. L. Crawford, Kaltungo, Gombe State emerged the best private junior school teacher.
Asubiojo Henry Olaoluwa and Caroline Istifanus were presented with brand new cars, in addition to award certificates, while different gift items were presented to other teachers who won different awards.
PDP hails Nigerian teachers
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has paid tributes to teachers at all levels for their sacrifices, commitment and dedication to the course of nation-building and development of the educational sector in the country.
The party in a statement by Kola Ologbondiyan, said teachers, as touch bearers, have continued to exhibit unmatched resilience, perseverance and selflessness in the discharge of their duties.
“Our party values the patriotism of our teachers in nurturing future generation of leaders, professionals, administrators, captains of industry among others, without which the wheel of the nation will grind to a halt.”
FG deploys 60,000 voluntary environmental health workers
The Federal Government has deployed 60,000 Environmental Health Emergency Volunteer Corps (EHEVC) to cover schools, as the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 approved re-opening of schools across the country.
Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar, made this known while briefing journalists on the safe post COVID -19 re-opening of schools in Abuja.
Abubakar said the EHEVC would cover all primary and secondary schools in 774 local government areas in the country.
He said the Federal Government, through the PTF on COVID 19, decided to re-open schools, which had remained closed since February to contain the spread of the disease in the country.
According to Abubakar, the re-opening of schools is to be done in strict compliance with the directives of the PTF.
Abubakar advised Environmental Health Officers (EHO) to set up schools environmental health clubs to ensure effective compliance with COVID-19 guidelines.
He said the club should essentially be run by selected learners as it would help to implement directives of the teachers-driven schools hygiene committees.
Registrar, Environmental Health Officers Registration Council of Nigeria, (EHORECON), Mr. Yakubu Baba, said the council would work with the ministry to ensure that schools adhere to PTF guidelines on COVID-19.
Baba said the re-opening of schools was in stages adding that the Federal Government opened 19,000 examination centres and that the outcome was a huge success.
ASUU seeks adequate funding, infrastructure
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), University of Jos chapter, has called on the federal and state governments to ensure adequate funding and address the infrastructure deficit in public schools.
Chairman of the union, Dr. Lazarus Maigoro, who spoke in commemoration of the 2020 World Teachers Day, said poor renumeration for teachers had negatively affected teaching and learning.
According to him, inadequate classrooms, hostels, laboratories, libraries, teaching aids, among others, have grossly affected the moral and productive capacity of teachers.
“Teachers at all levels in Nigeria are going through the most difficult period of their careers. First the pay is low compared to the West African average and this is why many people don’t want to take teaching appointments.
“Secondly, the facilities that will enable teachers to put in their best and teach effectively are not there. If the environment you work in is not conducive, it kills your zeal to work.
“And the Nigerian teacher is not happy with the condition of service that is made available for him to operate.
“So, we want to call on government at all levels to intensify efforts and make the education system better,” he advised.