ASUU Strike, Federal Policy on Automatic Employment, Stipends for Nigerian Education Graduates

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On October 5 2020, World Teachers Day, President Muhammad Buhari through the Ministry of Education announced a commendable Policy. It was a well-thought-out policy. It made me realized that people in government will someday get things right.

Amid rising displeasure by Millions of Nigerians with Mr. President, he took a very good decision which has no doubt increased his goodwill.

I have often told people that I do not just look at the bad things or poor performance of Mr. President. When he acts well, I will surely commend him.

The good policy I was quite glad about was the announcement of Automatic Employment and Stipends (a fixed regular sum paid to someone) for Nigerian Education Graduates i.e. People who studied education courses and those studying education courses.

What this means is that every person who is a graduate of education will be automatically offered employment and those studying education courses (who will likely become teachers) will be paid stipend or what the Federal Government called Education Special Allowance.

The Provisions of The New National Teaching Policy as approved by President Buhari on World Teachers Day are; Establishment of a Special Salary Scale, Retirement by Age is now 65, Retirement by Service is now 40, Rural Allowance and Peculiar Allowance for Teachers.

Other Provisions in the Policy are; Increase in Science Allowance, Automatic Admission and Tuition-free Schooling for Children of Teachers at their Place of Work, Automatic Recruitment of B.Ed (Bachelor of Education) Graduating Students.

Other provisions are; Education Students are to enjoy Special Bursary Awards, TETFUND-Tertiary Education Trust Fund will now be used to fund Teaching Practices, enhanced entry for graduating students into service and Special Teachers Pension Scheme to be established. This policy gladdened my heart.

I will let you know why I like the policy in my subsequent comments.

Importance of Education

Education, described as the process of teaching or learning especially in a school or college, or the knowledge that you get from this, is a very important aspect of human life because through education individual can acquire knowledge which can help them to think better, take better decision, discover their skills and open their eyes to opportunities.

The State of Education Sector in Nigeria

Unfortunately, Nigeria's education system is in a bad state and seriously needs to be reformed. Problems that are besetting the education system in Nigeria have been identified.

The problems include poor funding which has resulted in poor quality of education which has also resulted in production of graduates that are unemployable,. incompetence on the part of Education Administrators, Teachers/Lecturers.

Other problems are policy inconsistency, poor policy formulation and implementation and others. Poor funding has also resulted in poor conditions of service which has resulted in frequent strikes by Non Academic and Academic Unions such as ASUU-Academic Staff Union of Universities and protest by Students' Bodies.

Nigeria used to have an education system Nigerians were proud of. It was a system that produced many great and successful people. Sadly, the education system has become so bad that many parents now prefer to send their children to schools abroad.

The Teaching Profession is one of the badly affected parts of the education sector in Nigeria. Many people who are capable of teaching are not interested in teaching because of poor pay and other bad conditions of service.

Teachers/Lecturers should be some of the best paid people in Nigeria and the world because they impart considerable knowledge to people and also help in nurturing students/children.

Sadly, teachers are poorly paid in Nigeria. Big thanks to all the Teachers/Lecturers who imparted knowledge to me and contributed positively to my intellectual development.

I often worry about the condition of some of my teachers and a relation who was a retired teacher. What he gets monthly as retirement benefit was a measly amount of money.

It was my reflection on the conditions of service in the teaching profession and the state of education that made me consider President Buhari's Policy on World Teachers Day a very commendable decision.

That takes or brings me to some other problems such as the frequent strikes by ASUU. I sincerely understand ASUU's grievances. They should be listened to.

But, ASUU Members need to change the mode of their engagement with the federal government because students cannot finish their studies in/on time because of strikes. This can affect students' future.

It is about time government at different tier or level came up with a holistic policy that will help revamp Nigeria's education system from primary education to tertiary education.

Some of the things government can do are proper funding, monitoring and evaluation (impact assessment of funding and education policy), ensuring competence of those concerned (teachers/lecturers/administrators) including the people in charge of education in MDAs-Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

In the final analysis, people in government should be mindful of the quality of education government provides for Nigerians and how those concerned in education sector are treated. This will determine the quality of our human development which is one of the requisites i.e. conditions for National Development.

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