…FG okays special salary scale for teachers, raises tenure from 35 to 40 years
…Reintroduces bursary awards to education students in varsities, COEs
…To pay stipends to Bachelor of Education students
…Says granting*them automatic employment after graduation now a policy
…Directs TETFUND to fund teaching practice in varsities, COEs, others
…NCE holders may earn N310,000 monthly, graduates N350,000
…Kano, Edo, Kogi, Ondo react; FG can’t dictate to states on that — LAGOS
By Dayo Johnson, Regional Editor, South-West, Festus Ahon, Gabriel Enogholase, Olasunkanmi Akoni, Joseph Erunke, Boluwaji Obahopo, Bashir Bello & Adesina Wahab
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved a special salary scale and new retirement age for teachers in basic and secondary schools across the country.
The gesture,which was announced, yesterday, by the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, was in commemoration of the World Teachers Day.
The President increased the number of service years for the teachers from 35 to 40.
Over the years, Nigerian teachers have continued to agitate among others, an increase in their retirement age, welfare and salaries.
If what the Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT, proposed as the new salary scale for its members is what President Muhamadu Buhari approved yesterday, then a new lease of life is in the offing for teachers in the country, as National Certificate of Education, NCE, holders would earn N310,000 monthly, while their university graduate counterparts would take home N350,000.
Since education is on the concurrent list of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), some states, including Kano, Delta and Kogi said yesterday they were studying the development to take informed decision.
But Lagos State argued that the Federal Government cannot dictate to states what to pay their teachers, while Edo State Government said it would do better than the Federal Government.
However, President Buhari, at the 2020 World Teachers Day celebration in Abuja, explained that the implementation of the new teachers salary scheme was to encourage them in delivering better services.
The President also increased retirement age of teachers from 60 to 65, and the number of service years from 35 to 40.
He said these measures are part of ongoing moves by government to revitalize and reposition the teaching profession.
The President said a review of teachers’ development policies had revealed huge gaps in quantity and quality of teachers at all levels of the nation’s education system, adding that the status and morale of teachers were currently at their lowest ebb.
Buhari said implementation of the new policies was to attract best brains into the teaching profession and encourage teachers in delivering better services that would produce quality students who would in turn contribute to national development.
Implementation of the new policies
He said: “Government notes the emergency situation in our educational system, with particular reference to the dearth of qualified and dedicated teachers to enhance the quality of teaching and learning at all levels of our educational system.
“To address these challenge and set our country on the path of industrialization where our educational system will produce the needed skills and manpower, I have approved to the following: The reintroduction of bursary award to education students in universities and Colleges of Education, with assurance of automatic employment upon graduation.
“Payment of stipends to Bachelor of Education students as well as granting them automatic employment after graduation is now a government policy.
“The Tertiary Education Fund, TETFUND, will now fund teaching practice in universities and colleges of education, 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 talent and extend teachers’ retirement age to 65 years and teachers service years to 40, create a career path policy for the teaching profession in Nigeria and, teachers conversion programme and ICT training to mitigate the current dearth of qualified teachers in the school system.”
President Buhari also approved the following incentives to motivate and restore the lost glory of teachers.
“These include building of low cost houses for teachers in rural areas, sponsorship of teachers to at least one refresher training per annum, expansion of annual Presidential teachers and schools awards to cover more categories, with outstanding winners to be considered for National Awards and National Productivity Order of Merit, NPOM, awards.
“Others are prompt payment of salaries and other entitlements, including consideration for first line charge in annual budgets, timely promotion of teachers to eliminate stagnation, provision of loan facilities, free tuition and automatic admission for biological children of teachers in their respective schools to encourage and retain them in the system.
“The Minister of Education is hereby directed to ensure an accelerated implementation of these policies and measures in collaboration/liaison with states/local governments, the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission and other relevant agencies in the system to enthrone a culture of competence, discipline, dedication, increased learning outcomes and better service delivery in the education sector in Nigeria.”
At present, NCE holders earn between N54,000 and N60,000, while a university degree holder earns between N54,000 and N70,000.
Also, the starting point for those in the service will be Grade Level 10, instead of an NCE holder joining on Grade Level 7 and a degree holder joining on Grade Level 8. However, the benefit is not for all comers, as only those who have been certified and registered by the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria, TRCN, can be part of the new salary scale.
It’s been 15years of agitation —NUT
Speaking on the development, the National Treasurer of the NUT, Mr Segun Raheem, said the two policy statements on Teachers Salary Scale and retirement age for teachers by the President came following nearly two decades of agitation by his union and other lovers of teachers and education in the country.
“The agitation started over 15 years ago. The issue of retirement age for teachers ought to have been implemented when the new retirement age was approved for judges and university professors.
“What the President probably worked on was a private member bill that the last National Assembly passed, but which the former Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, could not present to the President for assent until he died. Teachers are deserting the classrooms and the new policies would serve as incentives to them.
“Teaching is a profession and it has passed through a lot in the country. Moreover, Act 31 of 1993 which set up the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria has also confirmed that. professionals are classified as special service providers and are paid as such.
“For instance, a medical doctor joins the civil service on Grade Level 12 and it won’t take such a person a long time before getting to the peak of his or her career.
“In the civil service, we have three categories of salary scales, namely health, civil service and teachers. The new salary structure would help to attract the best brains to teaching. Teaching should not be seen as a profession for never-do-well.
“When people say a teacher’s reward is in heaven, what if the teacher does not make it ? Let teachers enjoy their rewards here and everybody will sort his or herself out when they get to heaven,” he said.
Also speaking on the matter, Comrade Mike Ene, the General Secretary of the NUT, said he would not know whether it was what the union proposed that was approved by the President, adding that the union would later meet with relevant authorities to find out the true situation of things.
Kano to critically study the policy —Commissioner
Reacting to the federal government’s declaration, Kano State government said it would look critically at the issue before taking a position.
The Commissioner of Education, Muhammad Sanusi Kiru, told Vanguard on phone last night: “We will look at it critically at the state level before we take a stand on the Federal Government’s approval of special salary and retirement from 35 to 40 years for teachers,” Kiru said.
Kogi’ll study action — Govt
On its part, Kogi State government said it would evaluate the new salary scale and other goodies approved for teachers across the country before taking necessary steps. Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mr. Kingsley Fanwo, however, said the state, though not in a hurry to look into the development, would come out with the best options for teachers, stressing that the present administration had always prioritized teachers’ welfare.
We’ll look into new retirement age, salary scale — Delta
Deltas State did not only hail the Federal Government’s approval of 40 years retirement age and approval of special salary scale for Primary and Secondary teachers in the country but also promised to look into it.
Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Chief Patrick Ukah, said: “I cannot authoritatively tell you that Delta State government will key into it.
“We are yet to get the details. Once we get the details, we will present it to the state government for consideration but I can tell you it’s a welcome development.”
Meanwhile, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, has commended teachers in Nigeria for their role in nation-building as they join their counterparts to celebrate World Teachers’ Day 2020, yesterday.
Okowa in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Olisa Ifeajika, said teachers were the bedrock of the development of any nation, adding that no other profession could metamorphose without the input of teachers.
He commended teachers in Delta for their commitment to teaching and learning in all public and private schools in the state, and affirmed that his administration placed a high premium on the welfare of teachers and other workers in the public service.
Okowa said: “It gives me great pleasure to celebrate with teachers in Nigeria and particularly in Delta as they join their counterparts all over the world to mark World Teachers’ Day 2020.
“I thank teachers in Delta for their contributions to nation-building and to the intellectual development of our children. As an administration, we place a very high premium on the welfare of teachers and other workers in the state hence the regular payment of their salaries as and when due.
“We have also ensured that we improve on the teaching and learning environment for our teachers and students through the provision and necessary infrastructure and materials.
“For these efforts we have made in rejuvenating our public schools, our people now have confidence in patronising public schools in Delta. As you celebrate this day, I congratulate you all our dear teachers and look forward to a more rewarding engagement between the government and teachers in Delta.’’
Edo’ll do better than FG — Govt
Edo State government, on its part, said it would comply with any directive that would improve the lot of teachers in the state as would be directed by the Federal Government.
Commissioner for Education, Mr Jimoh Igiegbai, while reacting to the approval of special salaries for teachers and increasing their retirement age from 35 to, 40 years, said: “We will do better than the Federal Government. We have set the pace with our Edobest programme.
“We will continue to provide more incentives for our teachers. Edo State will comply with any directive from the Federal Government on the welfare of our teachers.”
Ondo lauds FG
Although Ondo State did not state what it would do with the new Federal Government’s policy, it however, hailed it.
Speaking with Vanguard last night, Information and Orientation Commissioner, Donald Ojogo, said: “Anything that will enhance the welfare of our most revered teachers is highly appreciated as long as the enabling template and environment are out in place alongside the laudable move by the President.’’
FG can’t dictate to states on salary scale of teachers — Lagos source
Reacting to approval of special salary scale for teachers by Buhari, an official of the Lagos State government who preferred anonymity, said the Federal Government cannot really dictate to states what salary scale to pay teachers.
The source said: “You know the Federal Government has its own employees, teachers. It’s a welcome development, though. I believe the President is directing the approval to teachers in the federal government’s employment.
‘’It’s not a decree where it will be binding on all the states. This is democracy. Moreso, Lagos is already paying its teachers in public schools handsomely. Some private schools are even paying above the salary scale.
“Meanwhile, the Lagos State Government will come out with its stance at appropriate time.”