National President of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, Mr. Michael Olukoya, has urged the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency in the education sector. Olukoya made the call at an event marking the 81st anniversary of the union and the 2nd Revd. Israel Ransome-Kuti Memorial Lecture in Abuja on Tuesday.
He said the call became necessary because of poor conditions of service and inconsistency in government policies. He lamented the disparity in teachers’ benefits and those of civil servants. The NUT President suggested that university graduates who are primary school teachers should be accorded equal opportunities to rise to the level attained by their counterparts in the civil service. On the refusal of some state governments to implement the 27.5 percent enhanced salary structure for teachers, he threatened to mobilise members of the union in the 14 affected states to go on strike.
Olukoya said, “The point we are making here and stridently too, is that our educational policies over time have never been stable. “It has been unfortunately characterised by what has been described as ‘forwarding and back warding, disarticulating.’ Our national commitment has been lacklustre and the funding of the system has been self-servicing and without an impact on the system.”
Speaking at the event, the Minister of Education, Ruqayyatu Rufa’i, denied allegations that the Federal Government had discontinued the 18.104.22.168 system of education. The minister explained that after careful assessment, government found out that the system was good but that there was a major defect in the area of implementation. She said government intends to amend the system in such a way that an additional one year would be introduced at the early childhood school stage to prepare children for primary school.
Rufa’i said the ministry was focusing interest on teacher education and development, so as to improve quality service delivery.