By Rita Esegine
The federal government has announced a series of welfare packages for teachers with a view to improving productivity in the sector.
Speaking at this year’s World Teachers’ Day at the Eagle Square in Abuja, President Muhammadu Buhari, approved a special salary scale for teachers and raised the number of years of service from 35years to 40years.
Represented by the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, the president based the government’s action on the need to address the challenges in Nigeria’s teaching profession
President Buhari instructed the Minister to facilitate the implementation of the new teachers’ salary scheme adding that the essence is to encourage the teachers in delivering better service.
“I am aware that the status and stature of teachers in Nigeria are currently at their lowest ebb,” Buhari lamented.
“To address these challenges and set our country on the path of industrialization where our educational system will produce the needed skills and manpower, I have approved the following:
“(That special salary scale for teachers in basic and secondary schools, including provisions for rural posting allowance, science teachers allowance and peculiar allowance.
“Special teacher pension scheme to enable the teaching profession retain its experienced talents as well as to extend teachers’ retirement age to 65 years and teaching service years to 40,” the president said.
Earlier, Adamu revealed that about 774 teachers have benefited from the President’s Teachers and Schools Excellence Award ( PT&SEA) as part of World Teachers Day Celebration.
Adamu, who was represented by the Minister of State for Education, Mr Chukuemeka Nwajiuba, said the theme: ” Teachers: Learning in Crisis, Reimagining the Future,’’ highlights the imminent challenges that affect teachers in all climes.
According to him, this year’s theme reiterates the importance of teachers in nation building and their leadership roles in emergency situation.
He also noted that the theme reiterated the need for nations of the world to rekindle the interest of young people to take up the teaching profession by sustaining the services of the extant profession.
In appreciation and recognition of teachers, motivation of productivity and quality service delivery, the Federal Government through the Ministry, instituted the President’s Teachers and Schools Excellence Award (PT&SEA).
Instruments for the nomination of potential awardees were sent to all State Ministries of Education and the FCT. Their submissions were backed up with evidence for authenticity.
`However only 24 states responded with submissions for the five award categories namely: Best Public School, Best Approved Private School, Best Public School Teacher, Best Approved Private School Teacher and Best Public School Administrator.
“Each category has three levels that accumulate to a total of 24 awards.
“Furthermore, 774 best teachers , one from each of the 774 Local Government Areas from which the best teachers were chosen would also be rewarded to ensure that the process start to originate from each local government in Nigeria,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, the National President, Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Dr Nasir Idris called for regular training and continuing professional development of teachers.
Idris, represented by Mr Amba Audu, National Publicity Secretary, NUT, there was need for teachers to be provided with conducive environments and adequately supported to meet the new trends and demands of the 21st century.
Idris also called for the approval and implementation of the 27.5 per cent professional allowance for teachers of Federal Government Colleges.
According to him, we also need to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education for all for the development of the educational sector.
It would be recalled that the World Teachers Day commemorates the anniversary of the adoption of the 1966 International Labour Organisation/UNESCO recommendation concerning the status of teachers.
The day was first held on Oct. 5, 1994 and has become the occasion to mark the progress and promotion of the teaching profession.