- The Akwa Ibom state chapter of the NUT has blamed Nigeria’s past leaders for the poor handling of the education sector
- He urged Nigerians to elect only leaders who are ready to invest in the sector
- The union leader, however, commended Akwa Ibom state governor for his achievements in the education sector
The chairman of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, (NUT), Akwa Ibom state chapter, Comrade Etim Ukong, has held past political leaders responsible for the decline in the education sector.
Speaking with reporters at the World Teachers’ Day, Ukpong urged Nigerians to elect only leaders who are ready to invest in the education sector, The Nation reports.
He said: “Nigeria is a big country, so anybody who should lead a country like Nigeria should be above board. He should have integrity and the ability to lead. Such a person must not attach importance to a section of the country, and to his immediate family. The president should be a person who is Nigerian in and out; somebody who understands the problems of every sector of the economy.
“A Nigerian president should be somebody who loves the development of the society. And the teacher is at the centre of the development of the society. There was a time school was at the forefront of attention of the Nigerian government and the only instrument for the measurement of the progress of our society.
“But there was a time too that all that collapsed, and education was no longer the priority of government, the teacher was pushed to the background; salaries were owed for months and nobody was talking about building infrastructure and equipping laboratories in schools.
“And it was not the fault of the teacher, it was as a result of the quality of leadership that we had, and the response of Nigerian society to that quality of leadership. But let me say in recent days that there have been a deliberate effort by some state governments across Nigeria to bring back the social prestige of the teacher, Akwa Ibom is an example and we are grateful”
On the recent strike by the organised labour, Comrade Ukpong, who doubles as the chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Akwa Ibom state chapter, said though the N65,000 minimum wage being proposed by Labour may not be feasible, but could be negotiated.
While explaining that the strike was a way to bring back government, especially governors to the negotiation table, Ukpong regretted that many states could not implement the N18, 000, despite the high cost of living.
“When you take a survey of the states that make up Nigeria in relation to the implementation of the N18, 000 minimum wage, you could say it is not realistic but I think it is good to try.
“Yes, many states up have not implemented the N18, 000 minimum wage at all, especially when it comes to teachers. In some states workers are collecting on negotiated percentage. But what the organised Labour is saying is that it is a matter for negotiation,” he said.
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Legit.ng previously reported that a survey cited by the Universal Basic Education (UBEC) allegedly showed that the population of out of school children in Nigeria has risen from 10.5 million to 13.2 million.
UBEC said although the National Demographic Health Survey (NDHS) conducted by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the Nigerian government in 2015 shows the 10.5 million Nigerian children are out of school, the new survey which is yet to be made official shows an increase of 2.7 million.
The executive secretary of UBEC, Hammid Bobboyi, disclosed the findings of the survey in Abuja on Thursday, October 4, at a pre-conference briefing of the the Northern Nigerian Traditional Rulers Conference on Out-of-School Children.
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