Thursday, 6 July 2017

Borno teachers kick against Local Government autonomy

The Borno State Chapter of Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) has kicked against granting autonomy to Local Government Councils in the country, as 774 councils neither have the financial capacity nor political will fund primary schools in the country.
It warned that: “Any attempt to handover primary education; to Local Governments amounts to consigning primary education to the abyss of total collapse.”
Addressing Governor Kashim Shettima on Monday at the Government House, Maiduguri, Chairman of NUT, Bulama Abiso said that between 1990 and 1994, when primary education came under the control of Local Governments, the schools system collapsed with poor funding and neglect.
“This has led to industrial crises, because the Local Government Councils failed to accord primary education the priority of place it deserved,” he said.

He said despite the increase in allocation to councils from the Federation Account by five per cent to enable them participates in assisting State Governments pay salaries.
He continued: “Teachers were denied salaries for several months, in some cases for over 12 months. The Local Government Councils also failed to contribute their mandatory 15 per cent of teachers’ emolument to the pension fund. The school system was allowed to deteriorate to the state of dysfunction and near collapse.”
He however noted that the NUT is not totally against Local Government Autonomy, but the union is concerned about the likelihood of scrapping the Joint Local Government Account.
He warned that it could take primary school back to the dark pre-1994 era. He said that any attempt made to handover primary education to Local Governments amounts to consigning primary education to the abyss of total collapse.
Meanwhile, he said that primary schools are being owed salaries for several months from some State Governments. The councils, according to him, could not pay their teachers, thereby creating a situation of ‘demoralization and hopelessness’ among teachers.
“This development, which may not abate, portends danger for public primary education and the future of underprivileged children in the country,” he warned.
He further disclosed that councils lack financial capacity, political will and commitment to shoulder the responsibility of managing primary education.
Responding, Governor Shettima said that to address poor funding of primary education, government is to conduct biometric data capture of primary school teachers to save funds from ghost teachers. He said that the state government had to intervene in the payments of teachers’ salaries in six councils.
He assured the teachers that with the savings to be made from “auditing and physical verifications” of teachers, the N18, 000 minimum wage be implemented in the six affected councils.

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