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Buhari increases students’ stipend, teachers’ salaries and elongates service year to 40

Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu has announced the approval of the sum of N75, 000 as stipend per semester for students undergoing degree programmes in Education in public universities in Nigeria. Also, the Nigeria Certificate in Education students will get N50,000 as stipend per semester as part of the deliberate effort of the government to attract the best brains into the teaching profession as promised by President Muhammadu Buhari. He announced this on Tuesday 5 October 2021 at the World Teachers’ Day celebration held at Eagle Square, Abuja. 

Adamu, whose speech was read by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Sonny Echono, said his ministry would collaborate with state governments to ensure automatic employment for students on their graduation. He said undergraduate students of Bachelor of Education, Bachelor of Arts in Education or Bachelor of Science in Education in public institutions would receive stipends of N75, 000 per semester while National Certificate of Education students would get N50, 000. The minister assured that the federal government would find the modality through which respective state governments could provide automatic employment for NCE graduates at Basic Education level.  In a similar development, Nigerian teachers joined their counterparts all over the world to commemorate this year’s World Teachers Day as the federal government promised more welfare for them. 

At a programme organized to commemorate the day in Abuja, Adamu Adamu said the harmonized bill for the new retirement age of teachers which was promised by the President last year had yet to be presented to the National Assembly for approval. The President had earlier announced a new salary scale for teachers. He also increased the retirement age from 60 to 65 years. 

Adamu, who was represented at the event by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Sonny Echono, said the 2020 draft bill for harmonized retirement age for teachers and education officers in Nigeria was presented and approved by the Federal Executive Council on January 20, 2021 and was awaiting presentation to the National Assembly. “I assure you all that frantic efforts are being made to implement the resolutions to complement the delivery of effective and equitable sound education that will foster development and contribute to the evolution of a strong, democratic, egalitarian, prosperous, indivisible and indissoluble sovereign nation.” 

The Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) commended President Buhari for efforts he had so far made at restoring the dignity of Nigerian teachers. The Secretary-General of the union, Dr Mike Ike-Ene, made the commendation at a symposium organized by the Ministry of Education in Abuja. The symposium was part of activities marking the 2021 World Teachers’ Day with the theme ‘Teachers at the Heart of Education Recovery’. Ike-Ene, who was represented by a Nigeria Union of Teachers official, Okoroafor Okechukwu, noted that efforts at concluding work on the promise made to teachers in 2020 by the President was commendable.

He also lauded the assurance given by the Federal Government that implementation of the enhanced teachers’ salary structure, elongated service years of teachers, allowances and other incentives would commence in January 2022. According to him, the actualization of the incentives would go a long way in repositioning the teaching profession as well as give teachers the confidence to compete globally. “If the service years of teachers for instance is increased and sustained at 40 years of service or 65 years of age before retirement, there will be immense benefit. Also higher motivation increases the impetus, ego needs of teachers and encourages them to concentrate and treasure their job.

“The teaching profession deserves its pride of place to attract the best brains. Where attractive conditions exist, the lost glory of the profession will no doubt be regained. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that at the commemoration of the World Teachers Day on Oct. 5, 2020, President Buhari approved a special salary scale and a special pension scheme for teachers. He also said the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) would begin to fund teaching practice in universities and colleges of education. He further promised to ensure provisions for rural posting allowance, science teachers allowance and peculiar allowance.

The President promised sponsorship of at least one refresher training, construction of low-cost housing for teachers in rural areas and reintroduction of bursary award. Other promises are expansion of the annual Presidential Teachers and Schools Awards and payment of stipends to Bachelor of Education students and automatic employment after graduation. As part of the effort to actualize the promise, in June 2021, the President transmitted a letter on a bill to increase the retirement age for teachers from 60 to 65 years. The bill also sought to extend the years of service for teachers from 35 to 40 years.

Executive Secretary of UBEC, Dr Hamid Bobboyi

 

Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary of the Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC, Dr Hamid Bobboyi, has raised concern over the poor outcomes from the education sector despite the billions of naira spent on basic education in Nigeria. Bobboyi said billions being channeled into the basic education sector has not adequately correlated with learning outcomes. The UBEC boss said the 2021/2022 National Assessment on Learning Achievements in Basic Education (NALABE) will also evaluate the impact of the multi-billion naira annual interventions at the basic education level.

He spoke at a two-day international workshop on Large Scale Assessment for Basic Education organized by UBEC in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Wednesday 6 October 2021 in Abuja. Disclosing that each state receives an average of N1.5 billion for the funding of basic education from UBEC every year, which adds up to N3 billion with payment of matching grant, Bobboyi lamented that the amount has not adequately rubbed off on learning achievements in schools. “You know UBEC is an intervention agency that provides resources. In a good year, apart from 2020 that was affected by COVID, we dispense billions every year. A state gets a minimum of about N1.5 billion and at least N3 billion in entirety on a yearly basis. But at the end of the day, you start wondering about the money and resources going to these states and agencies that are implementing basic education. How much of it goes down to the level of the classroom and making a difference in teaching and learning?

“It worries one. We measure our success by how much money we are able to give out. We have dispensed this and we have done that, and so on. We have dispensed textbooks to states, and SUBEBs will wait for UBEC to pay for transportation of these books to various schools and most of the time the textbooks are locked up in the headmasters’ offices awaiting instructions from their ministries on what to do with them.”

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