The National Assembly has planned to increase teachers retirement age from 60 years to 65 years in a bid to retain experienced hands in Nigeria’s public schools.
This came as the National President, Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT, Michael Olukoya appealed to lawmakers not to approve the transfer of teachers salaries to local government areas.
Mr Olukoya made the appeal when a delegation of the NUT paid a visit to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara in Abuja.
He had appealed that the state governments be allowed to administer teachers’ salaries as opposed to the local governments.
“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,” Mr Olukoya stated.
Retirement age review
Mr Dogara told the delegation that the House would particularly back an upward review of teachers’ retirement age for the benefit of the Nigerian child.
“We have done it for the tertiary institutions and the judiciary, so nothing should stop us from taking the bull by the horns. They say that wine gets better with age, it was the same consideration that motivated us to raise that of university lecturers and 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 explained.
Improving teachers welfare
The Speaker promised that the legislature would improve the welfare and working condition of teachers to enable Nigerian citizens compete with the global world and produce citizens that can achieve development that the country seeks.
He said: “If we don’t have people who will sacrifice their time and energy to impart knowledge on our children, then 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.”