Bauchi state governor, Mohammed Abubakar has assured that his administration will not support any amendment that would jeopardize the status of primary education and public primary school teachers
The governor’s assurance is coming on the heels of the National Assembly ongoing constitutional amendments, one of which was to give autonomy to local government councils in the country.
Media aide to the governor, Abubakar Al-Sadique, the governor stated this when he received members of the state branch of Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT, who were on a peaceful demonstration against the proposed transfer of public primary school teachers’ salaries to local government councils in a constitutional amendment bill.
Goveronr Abubakar, represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Bello Shehu Illelah, said it was in line with his administration’s commitment to improving teachers’ welfare and the education sector in general that 20 % of the 2016 and 2017 financial years were allocated to education.
He said massive renovation of schools, capacity building of teachers have also been embarked upon to raise the standard of primary education system in the state.
He therefore assured the teachers that the administration was going to do all “it takes to ensure the future for the younger generation and that nothing is done to reverse the gains being made to reinvigorate this very important sector”.
National President of the Union, Michael Alogba Olukoya, who was represented by the State Chairman, Danjuma Saleh, commended Governor Mohammed Abubakar for the “efforts made by the administration in partnership with the federal and local government in the implementation of the universal basic education programme through the payment of your counterpart funds and other budgetary allocations released yearly for the provision and maintenance of basic education”
The President recalled that between 1990 and 1994 when primary education was under the control of local governments, the school system “witnessed poor funding and total neglect which led to industrial crises because the local government councils failed to accord primary education the priority of place it deserved”.
He lamented that in spite of increase in the allocation to the local government councils from the Federation Accounts by 5% to enable them play their participatory role in assisting the state governments to pay the salaries of primary school teachers, the teachers were denied salaries for months.
The NUT President said local government councils also failed to contribute their mandatory 15 % the teachers’ emoluments to the pension and gratuities, and the school system was allowed to deteriorate to the state of dysfunction and near collapse.
The President therefore proposes the upward review of grants to States from the Federation Accounts in order to “guarantee uninterrupted primary education in the country”, and demand payment of primary school teachers through the Universal Basic Education Commission from first line charge from the Federation Accounts.