By Felix Khanoba
The Federal Government is to provide housing and car loan facilities to public schools’ teachers in the country.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who made this known during the 2020 World Teachers Day Celebration on Monday in Abuja, said the government will also raise the retirement age of teachers from 60 to 65 years.
The President who rolled out several welfare initiatives to attract the best brains to the teaching profession, said teachers now have 40 years in service.
Represented by the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, the President said the policy of encouraging the best graduates to take up careers in teaching has also been restored.
He listed other initiatives introduced by the government to motivate teachers to include: “The reintroduction of bursary award to education students in universities and colleges of education with the assurance of automatic employment upon graduation.
“The payment of stipends to Bachelor of Education students as well as granting them automatic employment after graduation is now a Government policy.
“The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) will now fund teaching practice in universities and Colleges of Education.
“Enhanced entry point for teachers in the Civil Service by restricting entry into the teaching profession to highly gifted, academically outstanding students/scholars with the right attitudinal and emotional disposition.
“Special Salary Scale for teachers in basic and secondary schools, including provision for rural posting allowance, science teachers allowance and peculiar allowance.
“Special Teacher Pension Scheme to enable the teaching profession retain experienced talents as well as extend teachers retirement age to 65 years and teaching service years to 40.
“Create a Career Path Policy for teaching profession in Nigeria and Teachers Conversion Programme and ICT training to mitigate the current dearth of qualified teachers in the school system.”
The President also listed other incentives to include building low cost houses for teachers in rural areas, expansion of the annual Presidential Teachers and Schools Awards to cover more categories and the consideration of winners for national awards.
Others are free tuition and automatic admission for biological children of teachers in school which they carry out their services, among others.
Earlier, the National President of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Nasir Idris, said the theme of this year’s World Teachers Day, “Teaching: Leading in crisis, reimagining the future” was apt and seeks to draw public attention to the expanding role of teachers in the context of Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on education.
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the sustenance of the President’s Teachers and Schools Excellence Award, which saw some best teachers and schools going home with vehicles and other items.
The NUT boss said the awards give hope to teachers and restore the dignity of the teaching profession in Nigeria.