National Union of Teachers has opposed calls for local government autonomy.
NUT National President, Michael Alogba, who spoke in Abuja at a reception for officials of Zambia National Union of Teachers, also blamed the government for the declining education standard.
He said, “The entire teachers of this country are saying no to local government autonomy. Not that we have any fear or any grudge against the policy but because of the fact that local governments had been given such responsibility in the past, they failed woefully. That is the fear Nigerian teachers are entertaining.
“We are aware that the House of Representatives is handling the matter; we pray they represent the entire Nigerians very well. We would not want a situation whereby the recorded gains in the sector will be thwarted by this uncalled for autonomy.”
Alogba regretted that various governments and administrations in the country had not taken education very seriously. He said, “It had been a sort of policy summersault. For me, education should be seen as a vehicle of survival.”
While urging the different tiers of government to allocate more resources to education in line with the 26 per cent budget declaration mandate of UNESCO, Alogba said “there cannot be meaningful development when education is not properly addressed”.
Speaking on the theme of the Workers Day, ‘100 years of nationhood: challenges of development’, he lamented the increasing rise in unemployment in the country.
He added, “We have degree holders that are not employable. Our education should be seriously tailored to the needs and yearnings of the society. Nigeria is suffering from discriminatory education—education for the rich and education for the poor. This is something that must be addressed. The children of the poor should have equal access to quality education.”
The union leader said there was no going back on the proposed strike in states that had not yet implemented the 27.5 per cent Teachers Enhance Allowance and the N18, 000 minimum wages for teachers.
Appealing to traditional rulers and religious leaders to intervene in the dispute, Alogba said it was not the wish of teachers to go on strike.
He said, “Let our government begin to act very honourably in respect of agreements. You don’t change the rule at the point of implementation. It is an agreement made by the various tiers of government in this country.
“The minimum wage issue is over three years. Some states have paid all categories of workers, leaving out teachers. It is happening in Benue, Kogi and Plateau states, to mention but a few.
“Look at our issue; we have given out notice since but only two governors called me. One would expect a government that cares to engage all agencies concerned so that life will continue.”