The House of Representatives Committee on University Education has called for state of emergency on education, saying no university teacher should earn less than 1m monthly.
Abubakar Fulata, Chairman of the committee, made the call on Thursday, October 19, 2023, at a one-day National Stakeholders’ Workshop on developing a roadmap for the Nigerian Education Sector (2023-2027) in Abuja.
He stated that it is important for Nigerian teachers to be encouraged by paying them adequately to teach the children.
The chairman said secondary, and university teachers should earn N250,000, N500,000, and N1 million, respectively, as monthly remuneration.
Also, he stressed the need to translate all subject textbooks into local languages so as to catch up with the world.
According to him, efforts have been made by past administrations as regards the country’s education, but those efforts have not yielded the desired results.
“It is a thing of concern that, for decades, several efforts have been made by successive governments to resuscitate and improve the education sector, and those efforts have continued to create very little progress.
“All over the world, the subject of language of instruction has always been local language of those countries. If you go to the UK, education is taught in English; if you go to France, education from the basic level up to the tertiary level is taught in French.
“It is in Nigeria that you teach the language of instruction in English. Our problem has always been that we are teaching our children subjects they ought to have been taught in their local language.
“All mathematical, physics, and chemistry textbooks and what have you should be in our local languages.
There is no way we can catch up with the world if we continue teaching our children a foreign language.
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“No primary school teacher should earn less than N250,000 in a month, no secondary school teacher should earn less than N500,000, and no university teacher should earn less than 1 million in a month.
“The nation must declare a state of emergency in education. We must commit at least 25 percent to 30 percent of our national budget to education. It is high time we pay them adequately so that they can teach our children,” he said.
The Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, said that the ministry has great policies on paper, but they are not meeting the needs of the people.
Mamman explained that the country’s education does not translate to the needs of society, hence the need to critically develop a roadmap that would translate to development.
He added that those roadmaps must, however, be implemented within the shortest timeline.
“President Bola Tinubu has charged the ministry to do all it can to reposition the sector. We have problems that have been militating the visions, missions, and objectives on ground. We have great and fantastic policies, but the issue is that our people are not seeing our problems addressed.
“We have institutions churning out graduates who are not employable, and we cannot go on like this forever.
“So, in line with our president’s mandate, we must have a roadmap to guide the implementation of how to take the sector forward.
“The idea of the conference is to have a whole lot of time for the implementation of our policies,” he said.
He charged participants to work within a limited timeframe so that Nigerians could begin to feel the impacts of the policies made within the timelines.
He pledged to engage state governments in the ministry’s crusade to move the sector forward.
In the same vein, the Minister of State for Education, Dr Yusuf Sununu, emphasised the need to recognise gender mainstreaming in the roadmap so that Nigeria will have the benefit of a balanced education system.
“Education, you would all agree, is one sector of development that Nigerians have been known to speak with one voice in terms of its importance to development.
“However, this recognition of its importance is yet to translate to tangible results that show that an educated person stands a better chance of living a fulfilled life.
“This disconnect between purpose and reality could be said to be responsible for inadequate attention to the sector and wrong perceptions of the relative importance of the different forms and types of education.
“Indeed, I must also say that the inability of our youths to gain employment after going through the rigors of academics may be responsible for a gradually building disinterest in the pursuit of education,” he said.
Sununu, however, said this trend must be curtailed to make Nigerian education responsive to everyday realities and beneficial to the individual as well as the nation.