By Mathew Dadiya
President Bola Tinubu, Thursday declared the determination of his government to ensure that teachers in the country get their due reward.
The President pledged during the 2023 World Teachers’ Day celebration at Eagle Square, Abuja, assuring that the government has resolved to implement reforms that will better the lot of teachers.
Tinubu who was represented by Vice President Kashim Shettima, said, Nigeria’s future can only be safeguarded by investing in education, empowering the teachers, and providing every child with the tools to reach their dream destination.
The President urged teachers to take advantage of the policy to develop themselves.
“I encourage each of you to consider taking advantage of this policy, but please bear in mind that eligibility is not automatic. To benefit from this Act, you must possess contemporary teaching skills, including proficiency in information technology, as we strive to equip our students for both the challenges of today and the opportunities of tomorrow.
“Of course, our dear teachers, we are not just going to focus solely on technological advancements. The human aspect of education is just as critical as the infrastructure. Our teachers deserve to be treated with the respect and dignity they deserve. It is my promise that we will work tirelessly to build a society where the teacher’s reward begins to manifest here on earth.
“Without motivated teachers, we can’t build a nation that fosters such international cooperation, builds bridges of understanding, and addresses global challenges such as climate change, poverty, and healthcare. So, education, to us, and I believe to you too, is not just a means to individual success; it is a path to global harmony and sustainable development,” the President said.
He however regretted the challenges confronting Nigerian teachers, including scarce resources and limited opportunities for professional development, which he said are the result of prolonged neglect of the noble profession.
According to him, our commitment to actualizing our education reforms is to drive the emergence and sustenance of a system that recognizes that education is the mother of new ideas and groundbreaking discoveries.
“With well-taught workforces, we are not only going to build a nation that thinks but one that lives in an interconnected world, a world where the exchange of knowledge and ideas knows no boundaries,” he added.
The President said every educated person is a product of teachers, expressing the nation’s gratitude to Nigerian teachers, reassuring them that their profession is prime in the vision for the nation and her development agenda.
“This day is more of a thanksgiving to honour those who have nurtured us, those who have guided us toward the hills upon which we stand today.
“I believe that there’s no vehicle that can transport you to your destination as safely as education. It is the reason every child, regardless of their background, awaits a future of vast possibilities. It is the reason the child of a disadvantaged family in a remote village clings to the same future as children from privileged homes with certainty.
“Education is the miracle that changes the fortune of a family in a single generation. Thanks to you, our dear teachers, we have broken down barriers and created a society where merit, talent, and hard work supersede the circumstances of one’s birth.
“So, by investing in education, by empowering our teachers, and by providing every child with the tools to reach their dream destination, we have safeguarded the future of this nation,” the President emphasized.
The President directed the Ministers of Education to collaborate with the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation to comprehensively revise existing guidelines “to ensure that anyone seeking to benefit from this Act must be fully prepared to return to the classroom, equipped with the latest teaching techniques and skills, especially in the realm of information technology.”
Earlier in his opening remarks, Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, said the day offers an opportunity for society to celebrate its true heroes, describing teachers as the champions of Nigeria’s transformation.
He said celebrating and rewarding excellence in the teaching profession was the government’s way of encouraging and attracting qualified persons to the sector.
The National President of Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Audu Amba, acknowledged and commended the efforts of the government to improve the welfare of teachers and their working conditions, particularly the sustenance of existing initiatives to reward excellence and hard work.
Goodwill messages were presented by the Speaker of the House of Representatives who was represented by Mark Useni and the Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory, Dr Mariya Bunkure.