By Uzair Adam Imam
The National Association of Parents/Teachers of Nigeria (NAPTAN) has rejected the federal government policies on education, particularly the elongation of service years and payment of stipends to students reading education in higher institutions.
The association added that the government should implement the minimum wage of N30,000 to workers first, which is considered more important than the stipends.
Recently, the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, announced the payment of N75,000 per semester for every student of public universities studying education programmes and N50,000 for students of colleges of education.
Dr Ekundayo Ademola, the National Publicity Secretary of NAPTAN, made the information available to reporters on Sunday, warning the federal government of Nigeria not to politicize education.
However, Ademola described the new policy of salary scale for teachers and the elongation of years of service from 60 to 65 years as a Greek gift.
He added that the promise made by the federal government is nothing but deceit: “We think that the promise by the government that has refused to diligently implement N30 minimum wage to increase salary for teachers is nothing but deceit.
“If one may ask, how many states are, in truth paying N30,000 Minimum Wage to workers? Asking the state to start paying with a special scale to teachers, when minimum wage of N30,000 is not dutifully given to them, will lead to industrial unrest.
“We demand that federal government and states should pay N30,000 minimum wage to teachers first before considering special scale for teachers.”
“Elongation of service year from 60 to 65 years is also odd, in a situation the country is presently is. Many educated graduates are seeking unemployment. Keeping those that are supposed to rest in service till 65 is nothing but a misplaced priority. Instead of doing that, FG and states must gear efforts towards timely payment of retirement benefits to teachers. If that is done, many of them will prefer to go on retirement even before reaching 60 years, knowing full well that their benefits would be paid.
“We also consider payment of N75, 000 and N50,000 to students reading education in University and NCE as ill-conceived and quite uncalled for. This amount is even bigger than the minimum wage. Before coming up with this idea, is the FG aware that the number of students studying education-related courses is in multiple thousand?
“Also, after being paid in school, do we have job placements waiting for them? Is there a plan for several unemployed graduates and NCE holders that read education-related courses? Many Nigerians that had passed through the Npower programme and worked in schools, are now back on the streets looking for jobs.”
The association also called upon the government to have a special package for teachers working in the rural areas that are facing security challenges.
“We also advise the government to have a special package for teachers working in the rural areas and areas facing security challenges.”