The Nigerian Union of Teachers, NUT, have received assurances from the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, that the National Assembly will come up with legislation aimed at encouraging teachers to always give their best.
Among them is the increase of the retirement age of teachers from 60 to 65 years in order to retain more experienced teachers in public schools.
Dogara made the pledge when he received a delegation from the NUT who paid him a courtesy visit in his office at the National Assembly complex, Abuja.
He said that the House is in support of an upward review of teachers’ retirement age as was done for academic staff members in tertiary institutions.
“We have done it for the tertiary institutions and the judiciary, so nothing should stop us from taking the bull by the horns,” Dogara told the teachers.
“They say that wine gets better with age, it was the same consideration that motivated us to raise that of university lecturers, raise that of judges.
“So this is something we can pursue. Thankfully, it doesn’t require constitutional amendment; it is something we can achieve by amending the existing law.
“That is the responsibility of the parliament and we assure you that we will do something about that so that the benefit that comes with experience and wisdom will not be lost,” he added.
The Speaker also stressed that the welfare and working condition of teachers must also be upgraded to enable young and intelligent Nigerian citizens aspire to be teachers.
He said: “If we don’t have people who will sacrifice their time and energy to impart knowledge on our children, then like I said, we have lost the future.
“This government which is a government of change must be prepared to change the narrative by ensuring that teachers are motivated and the condition in which they work are conducive at all levels, so that they can deliver on their professional calling.”
The NUT National President, Micheal Olukoya, had in his earlier remarks appealed to the speaker to use his position to press that payment of teachers’ Salaries be moved to the state government.
“We want the responsibilities of paying the salaries of Teachers be handed over to State Governments in which case the salaries component of the revenue allocation of the Local Governments will have to be transferred to the states and restructure the fiscal allocation of our national resources in favour of the states to guarantee uninterrupted and unfettered primary education in Nigeria,” Olukoya said.
Additionally, the teachers union demanded that teachers’ salaries be paid from first-line charge from the federation account through the Universal Basic Education Commission.
Speaker Dogara however advised the union to channel their request for salaries of teachers to be handed over to state governments or paid from first-line charge from the federation account through the Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC, to the Constitution Review of the House of Representatives for consideration.