Autonomy: NUT Raises Alarm Over Handing Over of Primary Education to Local Government
By Alex Uangbaoje, Kaduna
National Union of Teachers (NUT), has raised an alarm over what they termed “danger in handing over the affairs of education to local government authorities” in the country as enshrined in the drive for local government autonomy.
Chairman, Kaduna State Wing of the Union, Comrade Audu Amba, while reading a text on behalf of the National President, at a press conference in Kaduna, stated that it important for the public to danger inherent in the ongoing agitation for local government autonomy as it affects the funding and management of primary education.
“The renewed agitation for local government autonomy has made it imperative for the NUT, to sensitise stakeholders and the general public on the danger inherent in handing over the affairs of primary education to respective local government councils should autonomy of local government be granted.
“The primary concerns concern of the Union is not the issue of local government autonomy, but we are of the firm belief that the provisions of the 1999 constitution which vested the onus of funding and management of primary education on States while the local government participates, as interpreted by the Supreme Court should be upheld to save primary education from imminent collapse that may arise from local autonomy and scrapping of the state and local government Joint Allocation Account.
“We equally consider it quite apposite to make the position of the constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court known on the matter and emphasize the need to uphold same to safeguard the future of our teeming youths.” He said.
Comrade Amba, added that despite the fact that the Union is not allowed to take its protest to state Assembly, they are calling on well meaning Nigerians to support there course to ensure that the foundational framework the entire educational structure in the Nation is not pulled down.
He said another major issue of concern to the is the issue of tenure elongation of the retirement age of teachers.
“We the teachers of Nigeria in Primary and Secondary Schools do seek and demand that our retirement age be raised to 65 years to increase the teacher retention rate in our schools.
“This will help to check the rate at which experience teachers are being lost in the school system. Every education system needs an appropriate quality and quality of teachers to function properly.
“The Primary and Secondary education sub-sectors in Nigeria requires adequate number of well trained and experienced teachers to impart appropriate knowledge and skills to learners at this foundation level. But most times, the system is plagued by shortage of such qualified and experienced teachers, due to high retirement rate.
“The more years a teacher spends on the job, the better he delivers his service to the learners, given the benefit of experiences gained over the years and wisdom of age. The older the teacher the more caring and tolerant he is to the students with improved dexterity in the pedagogy of teaching acquired over time.
“It is for this and other similar reasons that the retirement age of lecturers and professors of tertiary institutions was extended to 65 and 70 years respectively. He explains.