Despite calls from stakeholders to federal government to establish a Commission to over see secondary education like Tertiary Education Trust Fund (Tetfund), the government said it has proposed an amendment to the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) to accommodate senior secondary schools.
Minister of State for Education, Barrister Nyesom Wike who disclosed this in Abuja on Tuesday said that the Ministry of Education had already submitted its proposal on the amendment to UBEC Act to the National Assembly.
This was as the Minister descended on principals of Federal Government Colleges otherwise known as Unity Schools over what he described as unnecessary lobbying for posting to lucrative institutions, saying such practices would be curtailed in due course.
He said owing to government intervention in the colleges, the administrators were more concerned in enriching themselves at the expense of government objectives for establishing the schools.
The Minister stated this at a meeting he summoned for all the Unity Schools’ principals in Abuja yesterday where he also maintained that a regular transfer exercise for the principals would be a solution to the problem.
According to him, the battle for the soul of these colleges shows that the post of principal has become very lucrative and therefore should be watched closely to avoid friction.
He cautioned the administrators that their action was promoting sentiment, tribalism and religious disharmony.
His words, “I thought as administrators and managers of schools, we should show good example, not knowing that at this level we are, we are introducing ethnicity, religion and yet we are supposed to be mangers of schools, those who are supposed to produce the future leaders.
“I ask myself, if this has penetrated to this level what is our hope, what hope do we have, I did not know that so much portends to be a principal, I did not know that the position was so lucrative.
“But then, it later struck me that the way you battle for the position of principals’ there must be something to it.
“Most of you began to involve people in promoting sentiment, let me tell you, you are not born to die in a particular place with the post of principals. It is for you to contribute to the development of the schools you are sent to.”
The Minister disclosed that already he has identified some of the big schools where such scheming and lobbying are presently taking place, stressing that he will not hesitate to transfer them to rural communities.
He advised the principals to make judicious use of the intervention funds allocated to them by government, if they hope to contribute meaningfully to the dream of improving quality education in the country.
At the meeting, the minister stated federal government’s commitment to improving the welfare of teachers to enable them perform better in the delivery of quality education to students and pupils.
Barrister Wike said he is aware of the Housing for All Teachers’ Scheme but regrets that he is yet to see anything tangible on ground concerning the project.
He therefore, invited management of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria to a meeting with the NUT to explore every option at making the scheme see the light of the day.
He noted that it was unacceptable that most teachers do not have a house of their own after retiring from service and urged the Bank to work out an affordable plan that would see teachers own houses and pay back gradually.
Responding, representative of the Managing Director of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, Newman Odiah observed that the bank has been relating with executive members of the NUT and has engaged the services of two estate developers in order to actualise the housing scheme.
Odiah noted that since teachers contribute to the bank’s National Housing Fund, they are entitled to loans that can enable them own their own houses
The repayment period he said, ranges from 10 to 25 years.