The Federal Government gave out different prizes to teachers, school administrators and schools at the basic and secondary levels, Nigeria joined other countries across the globe to mark 2017 World Teachers’ Day.
Addressing the gathering of teachers across the country and government officials who converged at Eagle Square, Abuja on 5th October, 2017 to celebrate the World Teachers’ Day, President Muhammadu Buhari, represented by the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, commended the immense contributions of teachers to nation building, noting that policies in education cannot succeed without the unflinching support and cooperation of teachers.
Describing the teachers as great builders of the nation, the President said, it will not be an overstatement to say that all of us have enjoined the mentorship and benefitted immensely from the services of a teacher to attain our present status in life. “We have all, at one time or the other, been taught, trained, counselled and supported by a teacher.”
The President said that government recognises teachers’ critical roles in the development of the education sector and that strategies were put in place towards empowering teachers, improving and professionalizing teaching through the activities of the National Teachers’ Institute (NTI), Teachers’ Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN), National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE), Universal Basic Education commission (UBEC), and Faculties of Education in Nigeria universities as well as the intervention activities of the tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund).
He disclosed that the Federal Government in 2015, utilized about N5.9 billion of 2014 Teacher Professional Development (TPD) to build the capacity of 229,286 basic education teachers in 36 States and FCT; while in 2016, government expended N4.4 billion of 2015 TPD to enhance the capacity of 132,682 teachers.
The President noted the challenges bedevilling the education sector, but said that government was systematically addressing the challenges through the Ministerial Strategic Plan (MSP) of the Federal Ministry of Education.
Buhari said that the celebration of the World Teachers’ Day enable all nations of the world to appreciate and recognise the contributions of teachers to national development as well as to address the challenges confronting both the teaching profession and the education sector.
He congratulated the teachers, school administrators and schools that won the President’s Teachers and Schools Excellence Award (PTSEA), saying the gesture was part of government incentives geared towards improving the teaching profession and education service delivery.
The National President of Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT, Comrade Michael Olukoya, in his address described the theme of this year’s World Teachers’ Day celebration “Teaching in Freedom, Empowering Teachers,” as apt, as it seeks to draw attention of government and relevant authorities to the avalanche of issues relating to the professional status, terms and working conditions of teachers.
He drew the attention of the President to the plight of primary and secondary school teachers across the country, ranging from non-payment of salaries and allowances for several months to failure of some State governments to promote graduate teachers in primary and secondary schools beyond Salary Grade Level 14 and 16 respectively, and urged relevant authorities to extend teachers terminal Grade Level to 17.
Comrade Olukoya implored the Federal Ministry of Education to facilitate the development of a comprehensive scheme of service for primary and secondary school teachers, as it is done for teachers of Unity Schools, to ensure uniform scheme for all teachers in Nigeria.
Other areas of demand include raising of retirement age of teachers from 60 to 65 years; payment of Teachers Professional Allowance of 27.5% to teachers in Unity Schools and other primary and secondary schools under the Police, Military and Para-Military schools under the supervision of the Federal Government, among others.
The climax of the ceremony was presentation of prizes of brand new car, generator sets, refrigerators, Laptop computers, with certificates to teachers, school administrators and schools at the basic and secondary levels. The overall best teacher’s award of a brand new car was won by Mr. Okodo Clement Nwoye, from Anambra State. Olojede Olawale Jimoh and Ajayi Michael Oni, got the 1st and 2nd runner-up of best teacher respectively.
In the best administrator category, Mrs. Oluderu Bilkisu Oluwakemi won the 1st position while Adelegan Moronke Sarat and Ogunkola Deborah Adefunke got 1st and 2nd runner-up respectively.
Ojodu Junior Grammar School, Isheri Road, Ikeja won the Best School of the Year, while Girls’ Day Primary School, Kofar fada, Malumfashi, Katsina State and St. Louis Grammar School, Ikere, Ekiti, won 1st and 2nd runner-up respectively.
For: Director (Press)