The Oyo State Chapter of the Nigeria Union of Teachers leadership has revealed that the Education sector has improved under Governor ‘Seyi Makinde’s leadership, compared to under the previous government, stating that the current administration has shown how invested they are in improving education in Oyo State by their actions and the policies they support.
The chairman, Nigeria Union of Teachers in Oyo State; Comrade Adedoyin Samson Tojuade made this assertion yesterday while speaking in an interview with a Tribune reporter, Modupe George, about current developments in the state’s education sector and other issues.
Comrade Adedoyin revealed that the relative peace enjoyed by his members was as a result of the present administration’s investment in Education which includes the prompt payment of their salaries and concern about the welfare of its members.
“The NUT is happy compared with what we experienced in the past. The present administration has touched so many aspects of our lives, though we still have some challenges. We believe that with the way the government has started with us, things will augur well for education and teachers in the state,” he said.
Recounting how the current administration has improved the welfare of the NUT members he said; “It will be recalled that about two years ago when the current administration assumed office, we were on strike because the last government did not treat us well. For instance, then, our salaries, most especially at the primary level, were paid in arrears when other workers in the state were paid promptly. This did not only affect the aspect of salary alone but other entitlements, like leave bonus and so on, were being owed.”
“When the new government came on board, the union was invited to know our grievances; we listed out all our grievances and the payments of salary arrears were immediately approved. To the glory of God today, both the primary and secondary school teachers are getting their salaries as and when due like all other workers.”
“Not only that, the current administration also promised to increase the education allocation from less than 10 per cent to over 20 per cent, which has given education a face lift in the state. The government has been printing exercise books for secondary school students and has even bought text books and past questions to assist the SSS3 students who are writing WASSCE and NECO.”
“We have started seeing the result of this new development because Oyo State has moved up to the 11th position from its usual 27/28th position in WAEC ranking. We believe the narrative will be better this year. Many buildings have been renovated in some of our schools, though we have others yet to be done.”
“This government means well for the development of education in Oyo State. No doubt, there are still other challenges, but we can say we are in a better position, compared to what we have passed through in the last 10 years.”
“First and foremost, our salary is now regular, we are sure of having our salaries on or before 25th of every month, and as a result of that, we can plan for whatever we want to do. Even, most of the banks are now looking for teachers to get loans because they know that our salary is regular. This will shock you, we are paid on the 23rd whenever 25th falls on either Saturday or Sunday. For example, 25th of April fell on a Sunday and by Friday 23rd, we had all received our salaries.”
Revealing how the prompt payment of Salaries has affected the attitude of his union members to work, the Teachers Union Boss said; “A hungry man, they say, is an angry man. Definitely, we can’t have someone who has not got anything to eat in the morning to give his\her best in the classroom.”
“However, with the positive change, there has been a lot of improvement in the way teachers go about their job. They are now more alive to discharging their responsibilities, and they are giving their very best. An indication to this is what I said earlier about the position of the state in WAEC ranking. We are actually targeting the third position. We believe with the current government, and the effort of our members, that position is attainable.”
Comrade Adedoyin also spoke about the current challenges faced by his union members and stated that the Government is yet to replicate the Exercise Book distribution carried out in the Secondary schools to the Primary schools in the states stating that this has affected the smooth progress of teaching and learning.
In his words; “The government has been trying, there is no doubt about that, but there are still some challenges and most of these challenges are in the primary school level. For instance, the government has printed exercise books and text books for the secondary schools, but not yet for the primary schools. However, many of our parents believe that what the government is doing in the secondary schools should be replicated also at primary level. Also, furniture has been provided in the secondary schools, it has not been extended to the primary level.”
“Although the government has given the reasons behind all the shortcomings, we are yet to have substantive chairmen at the local government level. We have the caretaker chairmen who the law does not recognize. So, there is little or nothing they can do to address some of these challenges.”
“To us this is a challenge because most of the parents expected that whatever is being done at the secondary level should be replicated at the primary. Most of the parents no longer buy textbooks and furniture for their children. In some primary schools today, pupils are sitting on the bare floor, so it’s a big problem.”
“Equally on the part of teachers, while at secondary level, the leave bonus for 2021 has been paid, at the primary level, we are still awaiting that of 2020. All of these things are what will boost the morale of teachers.”
“The governor has approved the promotion of workers up to level 17 at the secondary school level, whereas at the primary school level we are agitating that it should also be replicated.”
The NUT Chairman also commended the Governor on his recent employment of about 5000 Teaching staff by the state Teaching Service commission into various roles, saying that the employment is another means to improve the Teachers-Pupils ratio in Oyo state Schools.
“I can proudly say that the staff strength and position in our schools in Oyo State has changed for the better. The government recently employed 5,000 teachers to fill those vacancies in our schools and we want to give kudos to the governor in the sense that the process of the recruitment was so transparent. It was not based on political consideration as it used to be, it is who you are academically. We witnessed the process of CBT examination conducted for all the applicants at the UI CBT centre. The candidates were about sixty thousand. The cut off mark was 50 per cent which the recruitment committee strictly adhered to.”
“Immediately the results were released, only those who made 50 per cent and above were invited and in a bid to reduce the number of applicants, an oral interview was also conducted. The union was part of all the entire process. So, we know the teachers who have been employed and that the employment was based on merit. We believe that they will all deliver. The newly employed teachers have been assigned to all the schools in the state,” he said.
The Chairman also expressed his joy at the inclusion of two of their members in the governing councils of SUBEB and TESCOM.
“Now we have a member representing us in TESCOM and a member representing us in SUBEB. The essence of this is that we will be part of the decision-making. When we have members representing us at these levels before any major policy is decided upon, the interest of our members will be duly protected.”