From Uche Uche, Damaturu.
The Nigeria Union of Teachers, Yobe state branch yesterday organized a peaceful demonstration against recent approval by the Federal Government, granting autonomy to local government councils, giving local government chairmen the responsibility of paying teachers’ salaries,
In a press briefing by Comrade Lawan M. Ibrahim, the state chairman of the union, shortly after the Executive Council Meeting of the Union, described the granting of autonomy to local government councils as a misguided government policy that is capable of ruining the education sector in the country.
“We are pained and heartbroken by the lingering contentious issues that have bedeviled the primary education sector, teaching profession and the entire teachers of not only Yobe state, but the entire country,” the chairman stated.
The union said the issue of giving local government chairmen the responsibility of paying teachers’ salary would be detrimental to the welfare of the teachers which would in turn, affect the students and have adverse effect on the primary education sector.
“The management and funding of primary education and the issue of payment of primary school teachers’ salary by the local government contravened the judgment of the supreme court of Nigeria in the case of Accountant-General federation vs Accountant-general of the 36 states of 2002,” he said.
He stressed that ascribing to local government councils an exclusive responsibility for payment of salary of primary school teachers is a misplaced and unprogressive policy.
The union equally condemned the recent Kaduna state teachers’ competency test of over 21,000 teachers pointing out that the teachers are formally employed into the job by the state government, adding that the NCE, as teaching qualification has subject specialization enshrined and must be tested by specialists.
The union said that the competency tests lacks validity and reliability and with flaws in its process and outcome and thus the union in the state like its sister states, rejects in total, the process and the outcome and request for its immediate cancellation, and then, thereafter, train the teachers before introducing a standardized confide it calls inhuman treatment of teachers that manifested in unpaid salaries and areas, ranging from 2-22 months in some states, thus putting those teachers in penury and hunger.
The union, however, commended the Yobe state governor, Alh. Ibrahim Gaidam, who it said is poised to addressing the challenges facing education in the state especially, primary school teachers.
“The renovation of schools, payment of pensions and gratuity, implementation of the lingering promotion among others are landmark achievements that the union acknowledges,” the chairman stated.