Education International
Education International

Nigeria: teacher gap must be addressed

published 6 November 2012 updated 12 November 2012

The Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) has demanded that the federal Government in Nigeria pay teachers’ salaries in order to maintain their employment in financially-strapped States in Nigeria. The Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), issued this demand in response to the statement by Professor Mohammed Ibn Junaid, the Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Colleges of Education that Nigeria needs over 1.3 million teachers to meet the demands in basic education by 2015.

States can’t pay teacher salaries

To tackle the staffing gap, the Nigerian Government embarked on a teacher-recruitment policy, the “Federal Teachers Scheme” (FTS), from 2006 to 2008. This policy led the federal Government to recruit 1,000 teachers for each of the 36 States of the Federation, including the Federal Capital Territory, and pay them a monthly allowance.

However, these teachers only received two-year contracts, after which they were expected to be employed and paid by State governments in which they served. Unfortunately, most of them became unemployed as the individual States could not afford to pay them.

“The critical situation, one that has consistently led the union into battle with the various governments, is the young graduate teachers’ mass unemployment,” underlined NUT Secretary General Obong I.J. Obong.

Use unemployed teachers to fill staffing gap

He added that many trained teachers are available in the labour market and eager for employment. ‘The constitutional provision making States responsible for running education concurrently with the Federal Government has placed teachers’ recruitment in jeopardy’ Obong said.

“We need to fight for a massive employment of all the qualified but unemployed teachers in the country,” said Obong. “The education union also believes that the training of many teachers from training institutions continues to be necessary, however, considering that teachers leave teaching jobs almost on daily basis in pursuit of better jobs.”

The NUT demands that the National Assembly reviews Nigeria's constitution to remove unambiguously the responsibility for paying primary school teachers’ salaries from the hands of local government councils. These salaries should be paid from the country’s Consolidated Revenue Fund.

It also urges the Federal Government to monitor teachers’ availability in schools. All governments and relevant agencies must guarantee that they will fill all existing teacher gaps in the education system to provide an effective service delivery in public schools.

EI: Education funding a government responsibility

“We support our Nigerian affiliate in its struggle to ensure quality education,” said EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen. “This can only be achieved by making sure that enough qualified teachers are recruited and given decent salaries. Governments in Nigeria and worldwide must understand that the primary responsibility for quality education rests with them.”

The NUT comment letter can be read here