By Jacinta Nwachukwu
Abuja – The Nigeria Union of Teachers has told State Governments to take up the funding of primary education rather than leaving it to the Local Government Councils.
The Secretary-General of the union, Mr Ikpe Obong, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Tuesday.
He said that constitutionally, the management of primary education was the responsibility of State Governments.
According to him, the constitution of Nigeria gives Local Governments participatory role in the management of primary education.
“And since the Local Government is only playing a participatory role, it should not be in total control of the funding of primary schools.
“When there was a controversy as to the interpretation of participatory role of the Local Government as it concerns primary education, the Supreme Court interpreted it.
“We believe that any time we have ambiguity in any portion of the law, it is the Supreme Court that interprets for more and better clarifications.
“The Supreme Court in its 2002 injunction interpreted that the responsibility of primary education remains with the state and not the Local Government.
“The Local Government comes in only to assist in one way or the other.”
Obong said that funding of primary schools became a concern to the union because the paucity of fund caused shortages of qualified teachers in schools.
“Why it becomes a problem to us is that when you want to recruit teachers into classrooms that are empty, the Local Government will say it does not have the money to pay.
“So, if you recruit any teacher, you are on your own because there is no money to pay,” he added.
He, however, argued that salaries of primary school teachers should be paid alongside other workers in the state to ensure equal treatment of workers.