The Nigerian Union of Teachers has called on government at all levels to address the problem of Out-of-School Children across the country.
Dr Nasir Idris, the National President, NUT, made the call on Friday in Abuja during the commemoration of the 2018 World Teachers Day.
To address the problem, Idris revealed that Nigeria needed about 400,000 qualified teachers.
According to him, statistics show that the population of Out-of-School Children in the world is estimated at 264 million, with 60 million from sub-Saharan Africa.
Idris said: “Nigeria domiciles about 10.5 million out of the 60 million out of school children in sub-Saharan Africa; Nigeria alone needs about 400,000 qualified teachers to teach these out of school children.
“On this day, we call on government at all levels in Nigeria to ensure massive recruitment of qualified teachers.
“We also call on government to redouble their efforts in the provision of quality public education that would be affordable and accessible to every Nigerian child, boy or girl.’’
Idris also called on development partners to invest more in public schools in other to reach the poor masses.
The NUT boss listed some of the union’s demands to include reviewing the retirement age and years of service of primary and secondary school teachers to 65 years and 40 years, respectively.
Other demands included improvement in the conditions of service of teachers and adopting a professional salary package for all teachers licensed by the Registration Council of Nigeria.
He reiterated that funding of primary education in particular; payment of teachers’ salaries must be effected through first line charge from the federation account.
In addition to this, he called on government to ensure only professionally trained and qualified teachers were recruited to teach in schools.
Idris called for the approval of the payment of the 27.5 per cent teacher’s enhancement allowance for those in the unity schools and other Federal Government Colleges.
The Director-General UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, in her remarks said government must reaffirm its commitment toward increasing the number of qualified teachers in the system.
Azoulay, represented by Ngozi Amanze, National Programme Officer for Education, UNESCO, said that UNESCO would support government to ensure all children, irrespective of their circumstances returned to school.
She said: “Teaching is a decent profession, so we must provide decent salaries and improve the working conditions of all educators.”
The overall best teacher in the country, Daramola Femi-Patrick, an Agric Science teacher of Comprehensive High School, Ayetoro, Ogun, called on state governments owing teachers to pay them.
According to him, one way to appreciate teachers is to pay them adequately and promptly.
He urged fellow teachers to carry out their duties with all sense of responsibility and passion.
The overall best school administrator, Grace Ezinwa, from Idemili Anambra, urged teachers and school administrators to continue to work hard.
Ezinwa also called on government to pay teachers promptly and give them incentives to motivate them to work harder and give their best to the students.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Ezinwa and Femi-Patrick went home with brand new cars, while the overall best school, Doherty Memorial Grammar School, Ijero-Ekiti, got a school bus.