With teachers being celebrated globally on every October 5 that has been dedicated as Teachers’ Day, Nigerian teachers are yet to benefit from the promises made to them last year by President Muhammadu Buhari regarding their welfare because of official protocols and lack of funds.
The two critical areas where teachers in the country are waiting anxiously for the government to redeem its promises are in the areas of new Teachers Salary Structure, TSS, and the implementation of a new retirement age of 65.
The TSS is expected to make the least paid teachers in the public service to earn about N150,000 monthly as against the current salary of about N49,000 , while the retirement age is up from 60 to 65 years.
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Investigation by our correspondent showed that the TSS has not been arrived at as the Salaries and Wages Commission is yet to come up with what to pay teachers in the public service.
Also, legislation on the new wage, the new retirement age as well as making the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund, take responsibility for the payment of Teaching Practice Allowance to teachers are still pending in the National Assembly.
Already, teachers in Federal Government-owned schools are on the edge concerning the TSS and when and how the implementation of the new retirement age would commence.
The FG has 120 secondary schools called Unity Colleges and some federal agencies such as the Police, Army, Navy, Air Force also have some schools.
Commenting on the development, the Secretary General of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT, Dr Mike Ene, expressed the hope that all the issues involved would be resolved soon .
“At the federal level, we gathered that the Salaries and Wages Commission is already looking into that the Teachers Salary Structure is going to look like. We have made our proposals but let us wait and see what happens.
“Some issues that need legislation have been coded and sent as bills to the National Assembly for passage and then we know the President will assent accordingly.
We have come a long way in this struggle and we are very much optimistic.
It is a long drawn battle and victory for the Nigerian teachers is at hand,” he said
On the fact that education is on the Concurrent List in the 1999 Constitution and that state governments are not bound by what the FG approves for its own teachers, Ene also sounded optimistic.
“When we get to that point we know how to navigate the situation.
“Yes, the FG has 120 unity colleges and can decide to pay them what it feels it can afford, but remember that the issue of National Minimum Wage is always like that too, but state governments and their workers have always found a way out of the situation.
“At least the FG cannot give it workers a pay rise and state governments saying they won’t add anything to the salaries of their own workers,” he noted.
Recall that during the celebration of the Teachers’ Day in 2020, Buhari, represented by the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, reeled out a number of welfare packages for teachers in the county including new salary structure, new retirement age, payment of Teaching Practice Allowance among others.