President Muhammadu Buhari with the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT). Photo: @MBuhari.
The Federal Government says it is ready to engage more qualified teachers to increase the teacher-to-pupil ratio in the country.
President Muhammadu Buhari stated this in Abuja while receiving the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), who called on him.
The President acknowledged that Nigeria had a deficit of teachers, which his administration is addressing through the N-Power Teach Volunteers Scheme under National Social Investment Programme (NSIP).
He explained that the government had created a dedicated platform under the National Social Investment Programme called N-Power Teach, which engages qualified graduates to man the gaps of basic education delivery in Nigeria.
The President further explained that the N-Power Teach Volunteers would be deployed as teacher-assistants in primary schools across the country to support existing teachers.
The aim of this programme, according to him, is to lay a solid elementary foundation to enhance the quality of students moving to secondary schools.
The President urged members of Nigeria Union of Teachers to support the programme, and encourage as many qualified and willing graduates to enrol in the teaching profession.
Describing the teaching profession as one of the noblest of professions, President Buhari reminded the delegation, led by the union’s National President, Dr. Nasir Idris, that it shaped the character, calibre and future of individuals and nations.
The President paid tribute to teachers, noting that they have been at the forefront of cultivating young minds to be innovative and inventive.
He reminded the teachers of the dynamics of today’s world, where science and technology drives innovations that virtually touch every aspect of life, and urged them to be abreast of the changing trends.
The President explained that Nigerians had been inventing new products or improving existing ones, thus the need for the citizenry to continue to encourage and cultivate these minds, by increasing resources available for research and development and improving work environment.
The National President of the NUT, Dr. Nasir Idris, had commended the federal government for its numerous ground-breaking strides in the education sector.
He said teachers in the nation’s primary and post-primary schools identified with the giant strides of the federal government’s gains in the anti-corruption crusade, technical defeat of Boko Haram terrorists in the North East, restoration of teaching and learning in the schools of the North-East geo-political zone that were affected by insurgency, and securing the release of Dapchi schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram insurgents.
The union leader also praised the government for sustaining the National School Feeding Programme, establishing the National Secondary Schools Commission to regulate secondary education, and the proposed establishment of six federal colleges of education across the geo-political zones of the country.
Presenting some pressing challenges of the teachers to the President, the NUT leader appealed for presidential assent to the Bill on Teachers Retirement Age, and the Teachers Special Salary Structure (TSSS).
According to Idris, the Teachers Retirement Age, when signed into law, would improve teacher-to-pupil ratio in the country, improve teacher’s retention rate in public primary and secondary schools and revolutionise and strengthen the profession for the well-being of the nation’s schools.