…as Obiano harps on teachers’ professional development
Raymond Ozoji, Awka
The Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) has held its 8th Quadrennial State Conference of Delegates where pressing issues concerning welfare of teachers were brought to the fore and delibrated upon.
Prominent amongst issues discussed were teachers’ new salary structure, retirement age and benefits as well as promotions together with accruing benefits.
The event which was held at the Teachers’ House Awka over the weekend, had delegates across the country in attendance. The national president of the union, Dr. Nasiru Idris, gave an update on the progress made in the quest for a new salary structure for teachers.
Represented by the first vice president of the union, Comrade Kayode Akoshilebi, the national president of the NUT stressed that they were more concerned about teachers’ welfare and career policy progression in the country.
Though he said it might take a little longer for the new career policies concerning teachers to be achieved in the country he emphasized that the national leadership of the union was not relenting in its efforts to get the federal government to ameliorate the plights of teachers nationwide.
The NUT national president further disclosed that they were working on a consolidated salary structure for teachers which he said that NUT in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Education and the Salaries and Wages Commission would ratify in no distant time.
Shortage of teachers across the country was another burning issue the national president pointed out. He said teachers were retiring from the class room and government was not forthcoming with recruitment processes to replace those who had retired from the service.
According to him, most teachers who retired from government-owned schools were being exploited by private school operators where they eventually ended up due to lack of retirement benefits. As a result, he said NUT has decided to peg retirement age for teachers at 65 years adding that the national assembly has passed it into law and it is currently awaiting presidential assent.
The state chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress and state president Nigeria Union of Local Government Workers Anambra state chapter, Comrade Jerry Nnubia, said the NUT was an affiliate Union of the NLC and as such occupied vantage position in labour movement.
Nnubia who observed that the NUT and NLC had been worthy partners in the struggle for workers’ welfare in Anambra state, urged the incoming leadership of the NUT to also function alongside the NLC for better and more robust collaborations in the quest for improved working conditions for the state work force.
The outgoing state chairman of the Nigeria Union of Teachers Anambra state wing Comrade Ifeanyi Ofordile noted that the Union’s agitations had been for government to pay teachers what he mentioned as teachers’ salary grade but instead, he said government has continued to offer palliatives in the form of teachers’ enhanced allowance. He said teachers were not there yet but emphasized the need for government to help teachers attain their rightful status salary wise.
Meanwhile, Governor Willie Obiano who sent his best wishes to the delegates through the commissioner for basic education Prof. Kate Azuka Omenugha, said his administration placed very high premium on the development of the professional capacities of teachers in Anambra state.
The Director of Schools Department in the Ministry of Basic Education Dr. Raymond Offor who represented the commissioner, said teachers were currently undergoing Information and Communication Technology training across the state to equip them for more efficient service delivery.
He also disclosed that the state government sent some teachers to Lagos State to be part of a professional development training being organized by the office of the vice president stressing that Governor Willie Obiano is emphasising on professional development as well as capacity building for teachers in Anambra state.
On the issue of teachers’ recruitment, he said the state governor recently approved another batch of recruitment to replace retiring ones, noting that the governor’s vision was in line with the theme of the NUT quadrennial state delegates conference which has to do with regular recruitment of qualified teachers to fill vacant positions in the sector.