By Funmilayo Adeyemi
Abuja – President Muhammadu Buhari has urged education stakeholders to work hard to preserve and embrace innovations in all aspects of the education system.
Buhari, who was represented by the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu made the call at the 2017 World Teachers’ Day in Abuja on Thursday.
The theme of the celebration is: “Teaching in Freedom, Empowering Teachers in the 21st century”.
According to him, there is need to pay attention to areas that lead to skills acquisition, creative and innovative education.
“I wish to appreciate the education stakeholders’ community for all its contributions and support toward improving our education system.
“However, there is more to do to bring the education system to a desirable level to meet up with world’s best.
“There is, therefore, the need to pay attention to areas that lead to skill acquisition, entrepreneurship, creative and innovative education which are the dominant factors in most of the world’s education systems.
“New and simplified methods of doing things are the interest of many nations.
“I urge all citizens of this country and our friends to continue to work hard to preserve and enhance innovations in all aspect of our education.”
Buhari added that since inception of the present administration in 2015, 36,088 teachers were trained through its regular academic programmes.
He said that 20,791 teachers were also trained under the millennium and Sustainable Development Goals in various thematic areas.
He added that about 800 graduate teachers were also trained in 2016 in pedagogy, which was a requirement to become full-fledged teachers.
According to him, more than N5.9 billion was utilised in 2015 to build the capacity of 229, 286 basic education teachers in the 36 states and the FCT.
“The areas where the capacities of the teachers were built included numeracy, literacy, phonic, pedagogy, professional conduct, activity-based mathematics and science teaching.
“On-the-job capacity of 132,682 teachers was enhanced in 2016 by investing more than N4.4 billion of 2015 Teacher Professional Development fund.”
He said that more than N50 billion was allocated by TETFund to Colleges of Education, Polytechnics and universities to support the training of their teachers to obtain higher degrees and attend academic conference.
He said that this administration would continue to motivate teachers toward improving the standard of education in the country.
The president, however, promised to ensure that federal, state and local governments end the issue of unpaid salaries of teachers.
Senate President Bukola Saraki, represented by Alhaji Aliyu Wamako, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Basic and Secondary Education said the welfare of Nigerian teachers must be given priority.
Saraki noted that teachers’ development must be given serious attention as this would help the profession to be more attractive.
Also, the Speaker, House of Representatives, Alhaji Yakubu Dogara, represented by the Chief Whip, Alhassan Ado said the house would initiate laws and regulation that would be teachers-friendly to cater for the welfare of Nigerian teachers.
“We commend Nigerian teachers for their tireless commitment in education despite the challenges they face.
“We will give our commitment by reciprocating and doing the desire of teachers by promoting laws that will meet the needs of teachers.”
Mr Michael Olukoya, the National President, Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) said that the challenges teachers faced had continued to adversely affect the teachers, their relationship as well as the outcomes of educational service delivery.
Olukoya noted that a lot of teachers had been sent to their untimely graves as a result of their deplorable conditions occasioned by non-challant and ignoble attitude of their employers at various levels.
He called on the government at all levels to empower their teachers in the areas of decent working conditions, well resourced, safe and healthy working environment.
“The NUT and indeed, the teachers of Nigeria, therefore, use this momentous occasion of this year’s World Teachers Day join other partners to call on governments and employers of teachers to ensure teachers are empowered.
“They should ensure teachers are valued, honoured and respected and this must entail the provision of good working environment, well resourced, safe, professional autonomy, academic freedom for teachers.
“Indeed, Nigerian teachers, like their counterparts elsewhere in the world deserve to be empowered and be accorded their rightful status so as to enable them carry out their professional tasks optimally,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the World Teachers Day is an annual event to commemorate the achievement of teachers in the globally.
The day was initiated by UNESCO as a proclamation to celebrate the great step made for teachers on Oct. 5, 1966 at a special intergovernmental conference in Paris, France.
The event is being celebrated annually on Oct. 5, since 1994.
This year’s event recognised the overall best teacher in Nigeria who is Mr Clement Nwoye from Anambra and was presented with a brand new car by the Minister of Education.
Also the overall best school which went to Ojodu Grammar School, Ikeja, Lagos State, which got a refrigerator.
The second best school is Girls Day Primary School, Kofar-Sada, Kastina State, and the third best school is St. Louis Grammar School, Ikere-Ekiti in Ekiti State.
Also, the Nasarawa State, Ministry of Education and Abia State took the first, second and third positions respectively in the match past. (NAN)