By Chukwudi Ejimofor
The Bayelsa chapter of Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) on Saturday bemoaned the neglect of teachers’ welfare in the Bayelsa governments policy on education.
The teachers noted that the myriad of challenges bedeviling the teaching profession and the education sector in the state was a discouragement and in contrast to the government’s claim of investing massively in education.
In a remark during a low-key event to commemorate the 2019 World Teachers’ Day at the Teachers House, Yenagoa, the state chairman of the NUT, Mr. Kalama Toinpre, said that teachers were poorly motivated.
This year’s World Teachers’ Day took place while public primary and secondary schools are shutdown in Bayelsa following an indefinite strike declared by the state chapter of the NUT over neglect of teachers.
The teachers had stayed away from classroom since the September 23 when schools resumed for the 2019/2020 academic session, a development that stalled the new academic session.
Toinpre, who noted that teachers’ problems in the state “are many”, bemoaned the non-payment of N18,000 minimum wage arrears to primary and secondary teachers.
According to him, teachers were not also happy that incremental promotions had not been implemented for several years, adding that primary school teachers were owed salaries running into three and half months.
The NUT chairman further said that efforts by the union to ensure that teachers serving in rural areas earn “rural teachers allowance” had met a brick wall.
He, however, said that the government had promised to address the grievances of teachers at the end of October, 2019.
Toinpre stated that the objective behind the 2019 theme of World Teachers Day celebration, “Young Teachers: The future of the Profession”, would not make any meaning if the motivation of teachers was not given priority by government.
Speaking at the event, Gov Seriake Dickson, said that his administration would not relent in its determination to respond to the needs of teachers and the education sector.
Dickson, who was represented by the Commissioner for Education, Mr. Jonathan Obuebite, described education as an invaluable tool for development.
He urged the teachers to be focused in their noble profession to raise and equip the future generation of Bayelsans for the task of developing the state.