By Uche Amunike
Nigerian teachers will begin to enjoy a new salary structure as promised by President Muhammadu Buhari from January 2022.
This information was disclosed by the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba at a symposium organised by the Ministry of Education, Thursday, in Abuja as part of activities marking the forthcoming 2021 World Teachers Day with the theme, ‘Teachers at the Heart of Education Recovery’.
The Minister who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Sonny Echono, noted that work was being wrapped up on the new salary structure as well as other incentives promised by the president, during the 2020 World Teachers Day.
He stated that the incentives ranged from allowances, housing, training, to elongated service year from 35 to 40.
He added that President Buhari not only approved the enhanced salary structure, but specifically gave directives that it should take effect from 2022, adding that they were trying their best to round up so that teachers would get the remuneration they deserved.
He added that they were putting all efforts to see that by the end of the year, the president would have been informed that all the incentives he approved of, were ready for implementation.
His words: ‘The President has taken the lead by approving a far reaching and revitalising programme for the teaching profession in this country and there are many soft incentives in that.’
‘All that is required is for other actors down the line like state governors, the National Assembly and others to key into this initiative and ensure that the implementation is seamless.’
He added that the government was tired of hearing about teachers being owed salaries for a long time in the states, describing it as criminal. According to him with the new initiative there were incentives on ground, structured to attract the best brains and retain them in the teaching profession.
He maintained that all welfare issues including housing, training, enhanced remuneration, retraining and allowances are being taken care of.
He extolled Nigerian teachers for the sacrifices they make in the line of duty, despite the many challenges they face on a regular basis.
He encouraged them to retune themselves in order to fit into the New Normal brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic by improving on their technological knowledge.
Guest speaker of the event, Josiah Ajiboye said that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world education system in an abrupt manner and that the most affected, were African countries.
Ajiboye, who is the Registrar and Chief Executive of Teachers Registration Council, TRCN, said that every country of the world was affected by the pandemic, however, while some continents successfully adjusted to the New normal, African countries including Nigeria has found it difficult to adjust to a technology-based system of learning.
He added that our problem in Africa was compounded as only one-third had access to internet facilities. In Nigeria, he said, about 62% of the population have access to internet facility, but the unfortunate thing was that 97 percent of them are in the urban areas and this creates a huge digital divide between the urban and rural areas.
He explained that the government made efforts to bridge the gap by engaging the media especially through radio stations in the rural areas but much was not achieved.
He appealed that the New normal of using Information Communication Technology, ICT, for teaching and learning has come to stay and Nigerian teachers should endeavour not to be left behind.
He encouraged them to take up ICT training so as to be relevant in the 21st century, explaining that the role of the teacher was moving more towards that of a facilitator.
He promised that the TRCN will continue to play its role in making a way for Nigerian teachers to develop their career path among other things.