The payment of stipends to Bachelor of Education students as well as granting them automatic employment after graduation is now a federal government policy, the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, has said.
He said this in Abuja at the commemoration of the World Teachers Day on Monday.
President Muhammadu Buhari has also approved a special salary scale for teachers in the country.
He also increased the number of years of service from 35 to 40.
The education minister, Mr Adamu, who represented President Buhari, said the implementation of the new salary scheme was to encourage teachers in delivering better service.
The 2020 theme of the World Teachers’ Day is Teachers: leading in crisis, reimagining the future.
He said teachers have the power to shape and reshape the lives of young people and help learners to enhance their potentials.
“Only great teachers can produce excellent people and students that will make the future of our country great. A positive or negative influence of a teacher on any child will have an effect on that child. Therefore the federal government is ensuring quality education to access,” he said.
Mr Buhari also said his administration has resolved that quality education of teachers in terms of engagement of continued professional development has to be given priority.
“To address these challenges, my administration has approved the following for teachers and the teaching profession. That in order to attract investment in the teaching profession, the quality of the introduction of bursary award has been restored,” he said.
He said there will be a special pension scheme to enable the teaching profession to retain its experienced talents as well as extend teachers retirement age to 65 years and the duration of teachers years to 40 years.
“My administrative has resolved that quality education of teachers in terms of engagement of continued professional development has to be given priority,” he said.
He said there will be Special Salary Scale for Teachers in Basic and Secondary Schools, “including provisions for rural posting allowance, science teachers allowance and peculiar allowance”.
Other promises include building low-cost housing for teachers in rural areas, sponsorship to at least one refresher training per annum to benchmark best practices for improved teaching and learning.
“Expansion of the annual Presidential Teachers and Schools Awards to cover more categories and for the outstanding,” he said.
Mr Buhari said he has approved the reintroduction of bursary award to education students in Universities and Colleges of Education with the assurance of automatic employment upon graduation.
“The payment of stipends to Bachelor of Education students as well as granting them automatic employment after graduation is now a government policy,” he said.
He said the Tertiary Education Fund (TETFUND) will now fund teaching practice in Universities and Colleges of Education.
Similarly, the Minister of State for Education, Chukuemeka Nwajuiba, identified the teaching profession as the greatest profession in the world which must be accorded adequate recognition and respect.
”In those days, very comfortable and important figures in the society would send their children to a teacher’s house for grooming. That was the teacher then,” he said.
According to him, teachers children and those that lived with them became “the crème de la crème of the society. The society sadly has tilted towards ephemeral appearances that negate the standard of teachers as role models.”
”We think this should stop. Teachers deserve recognition and respect. The first step is to have qualified teachers in practice.”
He said the education ministry through the Teachers Registration Council (TRCN) is making concerted efforts to withdraw unqualified teachers from the classroom nationwide.
The celebration witnessed awards of Best School Administrator, Best Teacher in Public School, Best Teacher in Private School, among others.
Olaoluwa Asubiojo from Amoye Grammar School, Ikere Ekiti in Ekiti State won the best overall teachers in Public schools while Istifanus Caroline from ECWA’s L Crawford, Kaltungo in Gombe State emerged the overall winner.
Speaking earlier, the national president of NUT, Nasir Idris, said the N30,000 minimum wage approved for all Nigerian workers since April 2019 is yet to be implemented for teachers in some states and the Federal Capital Territory.
“We call for the implementation of the minimum wage to all Teachers in Nigeria without further delay. The NUT wishes to reiterate her call on relevant authorities to ensure that the 27.5% professional allowance is paid to teachers of Federal government-owned schools and colleges,” he said.
However, most of the teachers who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES said they were happy with President Buhari’s new directive on a salary structure and year of service.
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