Minister of State for Education, Nyesom Wike, has said the Federal Government’s proposed Housing for All Teachers Scheme (HATS), is aimed at boosting the morale of Nigerian teachers at the basic education to enhance their productivity.
Wike was a guest at a live phone-in interactive session on Ben Television, London, recently, where he fielded questions from Nigerians in the United Kingdom on developments in the country’s basic education sub-sector.
He said the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) and the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FGBN) are currently holding talks on the nature of the houses for teachers, which would be introduced across the country, adding that the aim of the talks is to provide cheap and affordable funding for the scheme.
“The Federal Ministry of Education is working with FGBN to fashion out a pragmatic funding model that will suit Nigerian teachers. That is why we have involved the NUT in the process and they will be active participants all through the programme. The essence of this programme is to boost the morale of our teachers. The president understands that you cannot talk about improving the quality of education if the morale of teachers is low. He remains committed to improving their working condition”, Wike said.
While describing HATS as a special intervention programme by the Jonathan administration to enhance the welfare of Nigerian teachers and contribute to national development, he said the Federal Government had since last year, committed over N10 billion to the training and re-training of teachers and basic education managers in grants to states, directly monitored by officials of the administration.
“We are open to suggestions that will improve the quality of basic education in the country. We are working out collaborations with non-governmental organisations and major stakeholders to achieve the necessary growth. Education will be turned around to help Nigerian children compete globally.”
The minister added that the government is working towards job creation and self-reliance among youths with the revival of 22 federal science and technical colleges in next year, adding that the phased rehabilitation of the federal unity colleges has commenced and would continue till 2015.
On the distribution of 14 million textbooks to primary school pupils and five million library resource materials to those in junior secondary schools across the country, he said that the objective is to assist indigent children to access quality education by using books from the Federal Government.
He added that the Federal Government’s investment in Almajiri education, girl-child schools and advocacy for boy-child enrolment in various parts of the country has yielded dividends with increased number of Nigerian children accessing basic education.