Mustapha Muhammad Tukur
The Federal Government on Thursday inaugurated a national implementation committee to work out special salary scale as well as other incentives for teachers in basic and secondary schools in the country recently approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, inaugurated the Committee tagged, “National Implementation Committee on the revitalisation and repositioning of the teaching profession in Nigeria,” which is chaired by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Arc. Sonny Echono.
He urged members of the committee to see it as a critical national assignment to reverse the neglect of teachers in the country noting that the approved incentives by the President came about as a result of extensive consultations, reviews and concurrence of critical stakeholders.
Adamu listed some of the incentives to include but not limited to: “Enhanced entry point for teachers in the Civil Service by restricting entry into the teaching profession only to highly gifted, academically outstanding students/scholars with the right attitudinal and emotional disposition.
“Special Teacher Salary Scale for teachers in basic and secondary schools, including provisions for rural posting allowances, science teachers allowance and peculiar allowance.
“Harmonised retirement age and teaching service years for teachers in Nigeria.
“Special Teacher Pension Scheme to enable the teaching profession to retain its experienced talents as well as to extend teachers’ retirement age to 65 years and teaching service years to 40 years.
“Create a career path policy for the teaching profession in Nigeria,” the Minister said.
He said the conviction of President Buhari was that the teaching profession must be recognised as a major enabler to the nation’s stride to development.
He added the knowledge, dedication and competence of teachers to a large extent, should be the determining factors to the quality of graduates of Nigeria’s institutions and their contributions to national development.
Adamu said it was unfortunate the story has been that of the neglect of the teaching profession with all the attendant consequences in brain drain, poor incentives to the teaching profession and poor quality graduates.
He said: “This assignment you are about to embark upon is a critical part of the federal government response to the emergency situation in our educational system, with particular focus on the dearth of qualified and dedicated teachers that will enhance quality teaching and learning at all levels of our educational system.
“I, therefore, urge you to accord it all the importance it deserves and hopefully reverse the years of neglect of our teachers and begin the process of revamping our educational system that will be responsive to the 21st-century demands.
“It was therefore with this clear understanding of the role of the teacher in the emerging knowledge economy and the need to attract and retain the best brains in our educational institution that the President approved a range of incentives to revitalise and reposition the teaching profession.
He told members of the committee that the main terms of reference were to come up with an implementable strategy towards the realisation of all these policies approved by the government.
He said they have been carefully selected as representatives of various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) based on requisite speciality, expertise and training to ensure this happens.
He further disclosed the committee has therefore been sub-divided into 12 sub-Committees to focus on specific areas of intervention. Details will be communicated to you by the Permanent Secretary/ Chairman of the National Implementation Committee.
He said the Ministry of Education is committed to providing the necessary support to ensure smooth implementation of these policies.
“In this regard, we shall be presenting a memorandum at the next National Council on the establishment holding before the end of the year on establishment related issues derived from the policy directives.
“We are also interfacing with the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation for the re-introduction of the bill that was passed by the 8th National Assembly which was not assented to by the President for legislative action by the 9 assemblies,” he said.
Permanent Secretary and Chairman of the Committee, Sonny Echono, in his acceptance speech, said the committee would carry its duty with due diligence and submit a report to the government as soon as possible.
He added that the committee would ensure buy-in of states by immediately engaging state Commissioners for Education, Head of Service of each state, and other stakeholders, some of whom he said would be co-opted into the various sub-committees that would be created in the course of the assignment.