The National Association of Parents/Teachers Association of Nigeria (NAPTAN), has rejected the federal government policies on education, particularly the elongation of service years and payment of stipends to students reading education in higher institutions.
The National Publicity Secretary of NAPTAN, Dr. Ekundayo Ademola, in a statement made available to our correspondent Sunday, warned the federal government of Nigeria not to politicize education.
According to the statement, payment of N75, 000 and N50,000 to students readng education in University and NCE is not only ill-conceived but quite uncalled for.
He described the announcement of a new salary scale for teachers, as well as the elongation of years of service for them from 60 to 65 years by the federal government as a ‘Greek gift.’
The statement reads in part: “we think that the promise by the government that has refused to diligently implement N30 minimum wage to increase salary for teachers is nothing but deceit.
“If one may ask, how many states are, in truth paying N30,000 Minimum Wage to workers? Asking the state to start paying with a special scale to teachers, when minimum wage of N30,000 is not dutifully given to them, will lead to industrial unrest.
“We demand that federal government and states should pay N30,000 minimum wage to teachers first before considering special scale for teachers.
“Elongation of service year from 60 to 65 years is also odd, in a situation the country is presently is. Many education graduates are seeking unemployment.
Keeping those that are supposed to rest in service till 65 is nothing but a misplaced priority. Instead of doing that, FG and states must gear efforts towards timely payment of retirement benefits to teachers. If that is done, many of them will prefer to go on retirement even before reaching 60 years, knowing full well that their benefits would be paid.
“We also consider payment of N75, 000 and N50,000 to students reading education in University and NCE as ill-conceived and quite uncalled for. This amount is even bigger than the minimum wage. Before coming up with this idea, is the FG aware that the number of students studying education-related courses is in multiple thousand?
“Also, after being paid in school, do we have job placements waiting for them? Is there a plan for several unemployed graduates and NCE holders that read education-related courses? Many Nigerians that had passed through the Npower programme and worked in schools, are now back on the streets looking for jobs.
How sustainable is this payment of students? Will the state government also pay those studying education in state-owned universities and NCE? We think that the FG should allow students to pay their fees but it should in collaboration with states provide immediate employment opportunities for them.
“We also advise the government to have a special package for teachers working in the rural areas and areas facing security challenges.
“We also urge both Federal and state governments to ala low us a critical stakeholder in the education sector to have inputs whenever educational challenges are being made.”