Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Abuja disclosed federal government’s preparedness to engage fresh qualified teachers with a view to increasing what he described as the teacher-to-pupil ratio in the country.
The president made the disclosure while receiving the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) in the State House, led by its National President, Comrade Nasir Idris.
A statement by the president’s spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina, said the president admitted that there is shortage of personnel in schools, which he said his administration was addressing through the creation of different platforms of the federal government’s National Social Investment Programme (NSIP).
According to the statement, Buhari implored members of the NUT to support various programmes of the federal government aimed at fostering the recruitment of qualified teachers into the teaching profession.
‘‘We have created a dedicated platform under the National Social Investment Programme called N-Power Teach, which engages qualified graduates to man the gaps of basic education delivery in Nigeria.
‘‘These N-Power Teach Volunteers are deployed as teacher assistants in primary schools across Nigeria to support existing teachers.
‘‘The aim of this, and many other government programmes, is to increase the teacher-student ratio at the primary school level thereby enhancing the quality of students moving to secondary schools.
‘‘I want to take this opportunity to ask all members of Nigeria Union of Teachers to support these programmes and encourage as many qualified and willing graduates to enrol in the teaching profession,’’ Adesina quoted the president as saying.
According to Adesina, Buhari described the teaching profession as one of the noblest professions, bearing in mind that teaching shapes character, the future of individuals and nations as he cited the influence of teachers on his life and others’.
‘‘It shapes the character, calibre and future of individuals and nations. You and I were all taught by teachers who moulded our persons and influenced our future. No price is too high for good rewards.’’
According to the statement, NUT Chairman, Idris, in his remarks, commended what it described as Buhari administration’s numerous groundbreaking strides in the education sector and appealed for presidential assent to the Bill on Teachers Retirement Age, and the Teachers Special Salary Structure (TSSS), among others.
According to Idris, when the Bill on Teachers’ Retirement Age is signed into law, it will improve teacher-to-pupil ratio in the country, enhance teachers’ retention rate in public primary and secondary schools and ‘‘revolutionise and strengthen the profession for the wellbeing of the nation’s schools.’’