Akin Akande, Abuja
The problem of shortfall in the teaching profession may soon be over as President Goodluck Jonathan has assured Nigerian teachers of the Federal Government’s commitment to addressing the issue.
According to President Jonathan, the Federal Government intends to address the shortfall and boost the capacity of teachers to deliver qualitative education.
President Jonathan who gave the assurance while declaring open the 2013 World Teachers’ Day called on teachers to act as agents of positive change and transformation to enable the nation achieve its education goals.
Represented by Vice-President Namadi Sambo, the President challenged the teachers to work harder in imparting useful knowledge, discipline and patriotism to the younger generation.
“On this important Teachers Day, we are making a call for teachers to give their utmost in achieving our education goals,” the President said.
“We are calling for teachers who love the profession, not just teachers who impart knowledge to earn a living,” he explained.
The President also said: “We are calling for effective teachers, who assume ownership of the classroom, invest time with students and work creatively for their success.
“Indeed, we are making a call for teachers both in service and out of service, to act as agents of positive change and transformation for our dear nation,’’ he said.
The President also said that government on its part was committed to addressing the challenges in the nation’s educational sector.
He, therefore, called on all stakeholders in the sector to support the teachers in their sacred assignment of building the present and future leaders of the country.
“If we must develop as a people and a country, then, we cannot afford to leave this important task to our teachers alone. We must reason with them, we must work with them, and we must continue to support them,’’ he added.
President Jonathan noted with delight the roles being played by teachers in sustainable development, and thanked them for their immense contributions in the field of medicine, science, technology, politics and the economy.
He said his administration was determined to address teacher shortage and improve the quality of education by reinforcing the training and retraining of the teachers.
According to him, this is why the recruitment of teachers and teacher professional development at all levels is one of the focal areas of the education sector reforms.
He announced that government had so far trained 40,000 teachers at the National Teachers Institute (NTI), while the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) had expanded its support in the training of 5,000 lecturers across higher educational institutions.
Accordingly, he said, government approved the construction of microteaching laboratories in all Federal Colleges of Education and one College of Education in each state.
Also speaking at the event, the supervising Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike, commended the leadership of the NUT for their support and understanding in the realisation of the nation’s education goals.
He gave the assurance that government would continue to implement policies and programmes aimed at uplifting the quality of education in the country.
Wike also stated that government would abide by all agreements reached between it and all trade unions in the educational sector for peace to reign in the nation’s institutions.
On his part, the National President of National Union of Teachers (NUT), Comrade Michael Olukoya, urged the three tiers of government to stop recruiting unqualified people to teach in schools.
He also called for an end to the ongoing ASUU strike, urging all parties in the dispute to put Nigeria first in their consideration.
Gov. Abdulfatai Ahmed of Kwara, who received NUT award for Excellence in Education at the event, expressed optimism that the ongoing strike by ASUU would soon come to an end.
Other recipients of the award were the Governors of Enugu and Yobe States, Mr. Sullivan Chime and Alhaji Ibrahim Gaidem respectively.