The federal government has announced an award for the best teacher in each of Nigeria’s 774 local government areas during the 2020 World Teachers’ Day event slated for October 5.
The government also said the instrument for the nomination of potential awardees has been sent to all state ministries of education and the Federal Capital Territory, but only 24 states have responded with submissions for the award categories.
The minister of state for education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, said this during a press briefing in Abuja on Tuesday. The press briefing was organised to inform journalists of the government’s preparedness for the celebration of World Teachers’ Day.
Most Nigerian schools have not reopened since March after the coronavirus outbreak, except for a few states who have allowed schools to reopen from Monday, meaning that most teachers except for those working for private schools have been at home.
When asked for the criteria for selection, despite the long holiday caused by the coronavirus, the minister said there is an existing template for assessment of teachers performance. The minister did not disclose either the criteria for selection or the list of states that did not submit the nominations for the award
He also said that the awards would be in five categories; best public school, best approved private school, best public school teacher, best approved private school teacher, and best school administrator. He, however, did not mention what shape or form the awards themselves would take.
According to the minister, the award is organised to appreciate and recognise teachers’ “motivation of productivity and quality service delivery.”
He said each category has three levels that accumulates to a total of 24 awards,
“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 originates from each local government.”
Also speaking, the national president of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, Nasir Idris, appealed to state governments and non-state providers of education to comply strictly with the COVID-19 protocols and guidelines developed for the safe reopening of schools by the federal government.
Mr Idris, who was represented by the national publicity secretary of the union, Idris Amba, said obeying the protocols and guidelines would help safeguard the health and safety of the learners, the teachers and the school community as a whole.
He also said that teachers need to be provided with opportunities for regular training and continuing professional development, be provided with conducive environments, be adequately equipped and “be empowered and supported to be able to meet the new trends, challenges and demands of the 21st century and to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education for all.”
The union appealed to the federal government for an upward review of the retirement age of teachers and education officers, and the approval and implementation of the 27.5 per cent professional allowance for teachers of unity schools.
The union also asked for the establishment of teachers’ salary structure and other incentives for teachers to address the peculiarities of the teaching career and to uphold the true identity and status of the profession.
They also asked the government to establish a national secondary education commission for proper coordination and effective management of secondary education in the country.
The Vanguard newspaper reported that the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, pledged 20 cars to deserving outstanding teachers across the six education districts in the state.
This year’s celebration has ‘Teachers: leading in crises, reimagining the future’ as its theme.
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