As this yearâ€™s Maltina Teacher of the Year contest commences, stakeholders in the education sector have suggested ways to attract the best to the teaching profession.
The Maltina Teacher of the Year, an initiative of the Nigerian Breweries Plc – Felix Ohiwerei Education Trust Fund, was established in 2015 to identify, showcase and reward outstanding teachers in the country.
In her keynote address, the Head, Department of Educational Foundation, University of Lagos, Professor Ngozi Osarenren described teachers as invaluable drivers of societal norms, saying that the teaching profession must be respected to attract the best and the brightest.
Osarenren, a former Commissioner for Education in Edo State, said if Nigeria must be saved from the menace of unqualified and incompetent teachers, it must find career-oriented teachers that want to do the job for their passion and not because it is the last option available.
Other factors that could attract the best to the profession she said include professionalisation of teaching, reasonable and guaranteed salary, job security and competitive entry requirements for would-be teachers.
In his remarks, the Managing Director, Nigerian Breweries Plc, Mr Jordi Borrut Bel said in 2015, the trust fund expanded its intervention in education to teachers through the Maltina Teacher of the Year initiative.
Borrut Bel, who was represented by the Corporate Affairs Adviser, Mr. Kufre Ekanem, said the initiative was hinged on the realisation that teachers seldom get the recognition they deserve in spite of the pivotal role they play in determining the quality of education.
He said so far, the initiative has produced 69 state champions and three overall winners, adding that entries opened on May 25 and will close on July 2, 2018.
Interested teachers are advised to download application forms from the Maltina website, www.maltina-nigeria.com. The forms should be completed and uploaded to the website or sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or post to P.M.B. 12632, Marina, Lagos.
Borrut Bel added that the winner will get N1 million, a trophy and another N1 million every year for the next five years, and a block of classrooms built at the school where he or she teaches.
The first runner-up will receive N1 million and a trophy, while the second runner-up will have N750,000 and a trophy. In addition, each state champion will get N500,000.
Also speaking, last yearâ€™s winner, Mr. Felix Ariguzo urged the government and other corporate organisations to emulate Nigerian Breweries and motivate teachers to improve the standard of education in the country.
Other dignitaries at the flag-off included the Assistant General Secretary, Nigerian Union of Teachers, Okechkwu Okoroafor; the Permanent Secretary, Kano State Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr. Saadatu Saidu; the Director of Establishment, Lagos State Ministry of Education, Biola Baiyewu; the Permanent Secretary, Anambra State Ministry of Education, Mr. Nwankwo Linus, among others.