Okon Bassey in Uyo
The Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita has called on federal and state governments to develop strong policy to encourage those in the teaching profession to put in their best.
She advised policy makers, people that develop and influence decision making process not to wait for teachers to embark on strike before taking decision on issues affecting them.
Oyo-Ita also called on Nigerians and parents to constantly pray for teachers to succeed in their career just as solemn assemblies and prayer sessions are often organised for people in other sectors, especially politicians.
Oyo-Ita was the guest speaker at the 11th Teachers’ Award for Excellence in Akwa Ibom State Public Secondary Schools, organised by the Inoyo Toro Foundation.
According to her, making an impact in the lives of little children is not easy because of the challenges, obstacles, good and evil in the teaching job. “For once we should say the teachers’ reward should be here on earth, we should not wait until they go to heaven.”
She said there are many reasons for the falling standard of education in the country, adding that the system will keep declining if teachers are not encouraged to put in their best. She said it will be a thing of joy to see the teaching profession go back to what it was 50 years ago when teachers were honoured by kings and emperors.
Teachers she said are custodian of knowledge, intelligence and dignity, adding, “I learnt from my teacher the love for God, nation, and community. I also learnt from my teacher self-respect, dignity, self-esteem, confident and public speaking, sports and games.”
Oyo-Ita advised teachers not to see the profession as a strayed job because they could not secure employment into juicy places like banks, teaching hospitals, oil and gas institutions, among others.
While calling on stakeholders to establish schools that can accommodate the down trodden in the society, she stressed the need for groups and individuals to show interest in developing the education sector rather than leaving it to government alone.
She commended the foundation for the annual award and urged Nigerians to emulate and key into the vision. “What Inoyo Toro Foundation has started is not something that will end within soon; already it is in its 11th year. It is something that will outlive us and cut across, not only Akwa Ibom, South-south, but the entire country.
“It is a vision of eradicating poverty through education. With what I see today there is hope, I am happy to see notable people in Akwa Ibom State and other states who have keyed into the foundation.”
The Chairman, Award Committee, Dr. Enobong Joshua said this year’s award was for six subjects: Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Economics and Visual Arts with the first prize winner in each subject receiving N250,000, second prize N150,000 and third prize N100,000.
She commended Governor Udom Emmanuel for his sustained focus on education at all levels in the state through the provision of basic infrastructure and the recruitment of teachers.
Joshua expressed concern that public schools in the state are not performing optimally because of non-commitment of some of the teachers and school heads and urged education managers to brace up to their responsibilities.
“The supervising government departments should strengthen their machinery for proper and effective supervision and honest appraisal of all sectors of the school system. I also wish to urge the students who are present in this programme not to be distracted by myriads of today’s youthful enticements and preoccupations but to take their studies seriously.”