The Lagos State Government on Friday said it would not convert non-teaching staff to teaching staff in the state as requested by the Nigeria Union of Teachers.
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, represented by his Deputy, Dr Idiat Adebule, made the declaration at the World Teachers Day celebration in Lagos.
The theme of this year’s celebration is: “The Right To Education Means The Right To A Qualified Teacher”.
Ambode said it was impossible for the state to go with the request of the NUT, and it would rather gear up the ongoing recruitment of 2,200 teachers aimed at boosting student/teacher ratio in the classroom.
He said: “It is better to promote assistant teachers to teachers, as this is well said than converting non-teaching staff to teachers.
“Qualified teachers are catalyst for quality education, having a good knowledge of children behavior, good mannered and with professional teaching skills.”
The governor said the government would make sure there is prompt payment of salary, allowances, pension to retirees and provide a conducive teaching environment in schools.
The Nigeria Union of Teachers had demanded that “some of the qualified non-teaching staff who have acquired additional teaching qualifications based on on-the-job training with the hope of conversion to upgrade their status should be passionately addressed”.
The Union’s Chairman, Adedoyin Adesina, said the non-teaching staff were being used as teaching staff because of the shortage of teachers in the classrooms.
He called on the state government to intensify efforts towards addressing the shortage of teachers, which posed a challenge in the state.
Adesina said: “Education is the currency of global economy and a country that leaves her citizens uneducated is toying with her future.
“It must be emphasised that the quality of education for all learners will depend on the ability of governments to ensure that there is supply of qualified teachers to teach.
“The quality of the teacher and teaching has a greater impact on how students learn. If we want quality education for every student, then we must have highly qualified teachers.
“Hence, the shortage of teachers must be addressed.
“Many qualified teachers are leaving the job through statutory retirement, voluntary retirement or death, therefore they must be replaced.”
In addition, Adesina said qualified teachers must be well-remunerated and paid as and when due, in order to ensure professionalism.
He said that teachers must be exposed to training and retraining facilities to update their teaching skills.
He said: “Technology-driven teaching must be adopted to provide better learning opportunities for students.”
While appreciating the Lagos State Government for ensuring a better education system in the state, he called for prompt response to some of their pending demands.
The demands include: teachers’ recruitment and motivation; increased running cost; reinstatement of morale boosting allowances and professionalisation of teachers.
Adesina said that the union had several achievements as a result of the rift-free labour atmosphere in Lagos State.
He said: “Worthy of note is the Lagos State Government’s recent implementation of the Year 2018 promotion of primary school teachers.”
According to him, this has not only made primary school promotion at par with that in the secondary, it has also brought it to the same level with other public servants in the state.
He said that the NUT’s agitation against the signing of the Local Government Autonomy Bill into law without parameters to care for primary school teachers had been approved.
Adesina said: “NUT moved that Primary School Teachers’ Salaries should be removed from the Autonomy Bill because it prefers payment through the Central Payroll Data Validation Department.
“This is to avoid a collapse of the Primary education system in Lagos State.
“Even though it is yet to be out, it is heartening that the bill has been passed at the National Assembly.”