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States must get their priorities right to pay new teachers’ salary, says NUT

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• Says payment may begin next year
• NAPPS. AFED seek inclusion, grants from govt

Teachers expecting payment of the newly approved salaries may have to wait longer as the implementation may not be immediate. Reason is because the new salary was not budgeted for in the 2020 appropriation bill.

Chairman of NUT in Lagos State, Mr. Adedoyin Adesina, said while the new wage policy may not come into effect until 2021, states should have the capacity to pay.

But private schools have ruled out any increment in salaries at this time saying economic realities would not support any increment.
In the alternative, they urged government to support private schools with grants and incentives, since they are basically rendering services and assisting government in its responsibilities.

The NUT chief said “There is need for states to get their priority right, if they want to develop education. Payment of new salaries may not be feasible this year because it is not included in the budget, but it should be part of next year’s budget. It is just additional allowances just like for health workers.

“It is possible for states to pay if they get their priorities right, we have said it severally that the profession should be made attractive to the best brains.” Adedoyin added.

But the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS) said federal Government’s announcement of an increment does not mean private schools should automatically do same.

National President of the association, Chief Yomi Otubela said private schools had their own ways of doing things, including payment of salaries and increment.

He said: “there are ways we increase salaries from year to year; some do it every two, three or four years. Because government has announced an increment does not mean that private schools would automatically announce. What about those schools who had just done for last year or two years?

“What we are clamouring for is a situation whereby we should be able to review teachers’ salaries across board. For those who are not paying well before, they could review it but obviously it is not going to be now because private schools pay salaries from school fees and we cannot increase fees now because of the challenges with income of parents too.

Otubela

“So, as things begin to improve in our economy generally, we can engage parents for a review in school fees and by extension, a review of salaries but I don’t see private schools reviewing salaries this year because of the current economic challenges.

“The position of NAPPS is that it is a welcome idea, and it is a laudable announcement. We pray that the implementation follow up quickly. And it is a good opportunity for us also to engage government in seeing how they would be of assistance to teachers who are in private schools. For instance, government can sponsor a periodic training of teachers in private schools. With that, the capacity development of these teachers would directly affect the students under them, and by extension, it would affect the manpower the teacher would be producing for the growth of the nation.

“Secondly, these teachers also need instructional materials to further intensify process of teaching and learning, so government can sponsor distributions of instructional materials to private schools,” Otubela stated.

WHILE pointing out that private schools are merely rendering social services, Otubela appealed to the Federal Government to support them with grants.

“When grants come in different forms, whatever profit that is assumed private schools are making is coming back to the economy; so , it is a win-win situation for any government that keys into this. Don’t forget, the aim and objective of any government is the welfare of the people, and education is one of the major welfare items. If these private schools had not come in, government would still have to budget for these children that are in different private schools, including the ones on scholarships. So it goes beyond looking at whether they are making profit or not; it has to do with our own country and the human resources we are producing for the country.”

On his part, National President, Association of Formidable Educational Development (AFED), otherwise called low-profile schools, Orji Emmanuel Kanu, said government should look at the research work, which low-cost schools are doing and seek ways to accommodate them in the new salary scheme, as they are doing what government should ordinarily do.

Kanu said if some stipends could come from government to augment what operators of low-cost schools gave; teachers would be comfortable and do their best for the children as leaders of tomorrow.

Director, Badaak Montessori School, Ipaja, Bukola Ake and her counterpart at De Vessels Nursery and Primary School, Ijeododo, Lagos, Mrs. Nkechi Amaji, said what the private schools need at this time is intervention.

Ake said schools are still gasping for breath from the effect of COVID-19 lockdown, which also affected parents; so increasing salaries at this time may not be feasible.

They said most private schools are battling with low income due to low school fees as well as the lockdown occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic.

They reminded that the nursery classes are not in session and as such; the expected revenue from this arm is not forthcoming.

Enugu teachers want better deal, govt unperturbed over special salary scale

MEANWHILE, Enugu State Government appeared unperturbed with the pronouncement. An official of the state’s Ministry of education told The Guardian that government had been meeting its obligations to teachers before now and was desirous of “doing more as far as there are resources to do so.”

The official, a director in the ministry, stated that the government was among the first to approve and pay minimum wage across board, stressing that “since this pronouncement is not law, it means states are free to negotiate.

He disclosed that the state had maintained the history of one “where teachers have not gone on strike since the inception of the present administration, administration, and believe that government is prepared to sustain this credibility.”

He, however, encouraged teachers to continue to do their best, saying what President Buhari did on Monday has offered hope and will go into history that Nigeria is prepared to treat her teachers well despite the economic difficulties.

A female teacher in the Community Primary School, Obiagu, Enugu, Mrs. Justina Eze, said the new salary scale would encourage teachers to do their best if implemented.

Another teacher, Mrs. Ngozi Ogbe, said the new scale, if implemented, could attract more Nigerians into teaching, especially the men folk. She observed that more than 95 per cent of teachers in primary and secondary schools in the state are females. She said male teachers no longer teach because of poor remuneration, adding that such development created a lacuna in the education system.

Implementation of TSS more important than announcement
THE Managing director, Showers of Christian High School group, Port Harcourt, Mrs Emilia Ekama Akpan, said while the new pay should cut across board, its implementation is key.

Akpan noted that government had made similar pronouncements in the past, without them being implemented.

She said it was also necessary that government should ensure that whatever provision they are giving to teachers should be such that is sustainable and would help them.

“They should also put a policy where the top five graduating students of every university should be encouraged to go into teaching, because the best brains in every other country are those who go into teaching. We cannot afford to have those who have no jobs to go into teaching, that is why our education is very poor,” Akpan noted.


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