A Bill for an Act to extend the retirement age of teachers in Nigeria and for related matters on Tuesday passed second reading at the House of Representatives.
The bill which was sponsored by Rep. Adekoya Adesegun Abdel-Majid (PDP-Ogun) seeks to increase the retirement age of teachers in public primary and secondary schools from 60 to 65 years.
Leading the debate earlier, Abdel-Majid said that over the years, teachers had been clamouring for the extension of retirement age.
He said that due to the high rate of retirement without commiserate recruitment, a vacuum was being created.
The lawmakers said that most retired teachers still had a lot to offer and were often picked by private schools to tap into their wealth of experience.
He argued that the older the teacher, the more patient and caring he became in attending to the children.
Abdel-Majid said that the extension would also serve as a viable means of curbing the challenge of low manpower in public schools.
In her contribution, Rep. Betty Apiafi (PDP-Rivers) argued against the bill saying that there was a case of generational gap.
She referred to present day school children as “generation z” as they were so computer literate and that 65 years old teachers cannot motivate them.
The legislator stressed the need for the country to return to the drawing board to build manpower that would drive the education sector.
Also Rep. Muhammed Monguno (APC-Borno) said that the extension of retirement age for teachers would attract youths to the profession.
Monguno emphasised training of teachers saying that it would bridge any gap between the two generations.
He said that the retirement age for judges and lecturers had been increased, adding that there was no need to deny the teachers the same gesture.
In his ruling, the Deputy Speaker of the house, Rep. Yussuf Lassun, referred the bill to the Committees on Education and Services and Public Service Matters.
In his reaction, the National Deputy President of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), Mr Kelvin Nwankwo, said that the union was happy about the development.
Nwankwo said that the bill was very important to the Nigerian teachers.
“Come to think of it, how many states have recruited teachers in the last five years? At the end of the day, they will blame the teachers for not doing anything.
“In some schools, it is one teacher to 300 to 500 pupils or students; so there is need to extend the retirement age of teachers in public schools,” he said.