By Emmanuel Adeleke
The Registrar, Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN), Professor Josiah Ajiboye, has urged the Federal Government to review its security architecture in order to address the deteriorating security situation in the country.
Ajiboye spoke as special guest at the 58th (7th Quadrennial) National Delegates’ Conference of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), held at International Conference Center, University of Ibadan, on Wednesday.
Speaking on the theme of the conference, ‘Terrorism and Attack on Schools: Effects on Education and Nigeria’s Economy,’ the TRCN Registrar called for collaborative efforts of all and sundry to curb the attacks on schools across the country.
“Continous attacks on schools put quality of education at a very high risk as these incidences led to disruption of academic activities and even to the closure of some affected schools at different times. When schools are shut down, children and teachers are kept at home and this deepens frustration and criminality in the society.
“Also, insecurity does not only disrupt education but also has a long term effect on the quality of labour force and human capital needed to drive a sustainable economy. As you may recall, the level of education in any society is directly proportional to the level of economic development in such society.
“Attacks on education create a ripple effect, setting in motion a range of negative impacts such as loss of education, early marriage, early pregnancy, and stigma associated with sexual violence and children born from rape, all of which can dramatically affect female students’ futures.
“Also, as schools close, illiteracy grows and as illiteracy grows so will crime and other manifestations of terrorism multiply,” Ajiboye said
He urged the Federal Government to implement the Safe Schools Declaration (SSD) guidelines endorsed by Nigeria in 2015 and ratified by the president in 2019.
The special guest also urged the state government to ensure that all the primary and secondary schools are fenced to protect the children and teachers.
In his remarks, the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, restated the commitment of the Federal Ministry of Education (FME) and its agencies to work closely with Nigerians to provide safe school, where children and teachers can be protected from threats and crisis.
Adamu, who was represented by the Director, Coordinating Evaluation Quality Assurance Service, Oyo State, Mrs. Abimbola Odeleye, said President Muhammadu Buhari led administration will continue to place premium on teachers’ professionalism and welfare.
“The president in 2020 approved 12 incentives aimed at revitalising and repositioning the teaching profession which have been enacted into law, this is calling on state governments and all key players in the education sector for its full implementation,” the minsiter said.
In his address, the NUT National President, Comrade Audu Titus Amba, said insecurity in and around Nigerian schools is antithetical to effective delivery of education, stressing that academic system of the country has suffered attacks from terrorists and bandits, leading to displacement and death of some teachers and students.
“It is pertinent to note that the importance of education as the bedrock of national development will be a mirage if the nations’ education system fails to provide a safe and conducive environment for teaching and learning,” Amba said.
He called on Federal Government and state governments to increase their budgetary allocations to education, in line with the best global practices.
The NUT president charged all teachers to uphold the nobility of their profession and show good examples as nation builders by carrying out their civic duties in the forthcoming elections and census.
He also urged political gladiators to play the game according to the rules, stressing that the interest of the nation must override personal interest.
Speaking, Oyo State Governor, Engr Seyi Makinde, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Mr. Segun Ogunwuyi, said the present administration in the state has ensured that the welfare of teachers is given topmost priority as a way of boosting their morale.
“Gone are the days when you have a signage that says, “this house is for rent but not for teacher, that is no more happening in Oyo State. In fact, most landlords are eagerly giving their houses to teachers and teachers are also building their own houses,” the governor said
In his remarks,Oyo State NUT chairman, Comrade Raji Oladimeji, lauded the Makinde for his maximum support towards education and teachers of the state.
He appealed to the governor to approve the implementation of the Act of National Assembly, which approved 65 years retirement age and 40 years length of service for teachers in the state.
Highlight of the event include presentation of award to the President Muhammadu Buhari; Senate president, Ahmed Lawan; Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; Makinde; Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Bagudu among others, for their contributions toward education in Nigeria.