The Teachers Appreciation Network International(TANI), a non-governmental organization has express total dissatisfaction on the welfare of teachers in Abia state and Nigeria at large.
Members of the NGO on Wednesday expressed dissatisfaction as they mark the “World Teachers Day” normally celebrated on 5th October every year.
This year’s celebration is tagged “Teachers are Heroes To the World”.
During a press briefing in Umuahia on Wednesday, Prof. Mpka Agu Mkpa, a former Vice Chancellor and Pioneer of the organization reminded that the “world teachers day” is a day set aside for the recognition of teachers contribution to human development in the society while listing the numerous challenges Nigeria teachers face in the education sector.
Prof. Mkpa added that all professionals in the society such as doctors, engineers and politicians all pass through the tutelage of a teacher but they are hardly appreciated in the society.
Prof. Mkpa also emphasized that the neglect to teachers welfare and appreciation is not peculiar to Nigeria alone, but other countries in the world and particularly in the Africa continent. Due to the neglect, Prof. Mkpa added that the United Nations has taken the initiative to make public, that teachers shouldn’t be treated that way.
In his words: “The appreciation we establish and give to the teachers is a determinant of what the system will look like because the educational system defines the character of development in any nation. That is why the national policy on education states that no education system can rise above the quality of its teachers. To that end, today, the world is celebrating the quality of teachers, and we are saying to teachers, if nobody appreciates you, we appreciate you.”
Prof. Mkpa also added that the world’s neglect to teachers is to its detriment while adding that advanced countries like Finland don’t joke with the appreciation and welfare of their teachers. He urged other countries to borrow a leaf from that standard.
Speaking about the lingering strike of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in Nigeria, Prof. Mkpa pleaded with “federal government and ASUU to do their best to keep the interest of the nation at the fore above all consideration.
“If we want to be great as European countries, then let us treat our lecturers and teachers the way other countries treat theirs.
“When we begin to accord prominence to our teachers then we are beginning to lay the foundation for the growth and development of the nation. No nation develops without paying attention to the intellects and the welfare of teachers development. So I call our government to pay teachers and give them their dues. In some states, they are owed for many months. Without the teachers we are going no were” Prof Mkpa said.
Prof. Mkpa also emphasized the need for tight security in Nigeria schools to ensure the safe school security initiative. He advocates the installment of CCTV and deployment of armed security personnel around every school in Nigeria.
He also called for the retraining and professional licensing of teachers to meet global standards.
Also reacting to the question on qualification of teachers, Prof. Mkpa said Abia state doesn’t lack qualified teachers.
“Frankly most teachers in the primary and secondary school in Abia state are qualified, in some secondary schools you find master’s degree holders, there are some PhD holders. The problem is not the quality of teachers, you could have such in other parts of the country but frankly not in the eastern states, that’s what statistics has shown us.
Prof Mkpa attributed the employment of unqualified teachers to the private sector due to the quest for cheap labour.
According to Dr. Uchenna Eke a senior member of the organization, he said as part of the activities lined up by the NGOs, they will have selected teachers match round some parts of Abia state and share flyers for their sensitization program. The organization also scheduled October 29, 2022 for a rally to celebrate teachers in the society. The NGOs also planned to organize a mock classroom in November 2022 that will have teachers that are prominent do what they know how to do best in the classroom.
The group also carried out sensitization program on Flo Fm radio 94.9fm in Umuahia.
watch interview video here 👇