Tangerines motivation for teachers
Sir: Teaching, as treasured and as treasurable as it is, does not just happen. It relies heavily on the agency of teachers.
Many of those who teach have attested to the fact that few feelings can match the quiet exhilaration that comes with seeing the darkness of ignorance recede, never to return. Many teachers have testified that seeing the mind trained by the tools that teaching brings, especially in children, is to witness a miracle in many ways.
Yet, in Nigeria, teachers are given tough rows to hoe. “Your reward is in heaven,” cried many of those who do not want to give teachers their dues. Thus, the ponderous procession of neglect continues.
Teachers in Nigeria are poorly remunerated. Their welfare usually suffers servitude to the whims of the authorities, and it is not uncommon to see teachers go on strike for prolonged periods, in protest against absolutely shocking conditions of work.
Some states in Nigeria have been known to owe teachers for months when the mismanagement of public resources begins to take its toll. For those who teach in private schools, their nightmare is always complete when their welfare is left entirely at the whims and caprices of shylock school proprietors.
A woman was always leaving her baby with her babysitter. While she always left enough food for the baby, she always left her babysitter with so little to eat. One day, the babysitter got so hungry and so angry that she ate the baby.
With the demagogues of terrorism lurking in every corner and seeking young impressionable minds to conscript, convert, indoctrinate and devour, it is teachers that stand like sentinels. Without them, the walls will crumble. It is why they must be well equipped.
The recent signing into law of the Harmonised Retirement Age for Teachers in Nigeria Act 2022 by the administration of Mr. Muhammadu Buhari must be considered remarkable.
The Act which jerks up the retirement age for teachers in Nigeria to 65 years of age or 40 years of pensionable service whichever is earlier, from the previous provisions of 60 years of age or 35 years of pensionable service is surely a boost for the morale of teachers who mostly labour in vain in Nigeria.
Although implementation has proved a difficult challenge, it was also in a bid to boost the morale of teachers that the Federal Government announced in 2021 that teachers would enjoy a new and improved salary structure in the country to go with other incentives such as allowances, housing and training in 2022. Without teachers, the whole chain of education will come jarringly loose.
With terrorists besieging many parts of Nigeria and cutting off the education of children, who is better to serve as the bastions of education than teachers? And who is better to motivate them than a government which is doing right by teachers.