Posted by News Express | 8 October 2022 | 261 times
. . . Calls for improved welfare package
By TINA TIMOTHY
The Workers and Youths Solidarity Network (WYSN) has lamented that in Nigeria, the role of teachers was grossly underestimated, under-recognized, under-appreciated and consequently demanded an improved welfare and emolument package for the teachers.
WYSN said in a press statement while felicitating with the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), on the occasion of World Teachers Day on October 5, 2022, signed by its Secretary, Damilola Owot that the welfare of teachers was nothing to write home about.
The statement partly reads: “The Workers and Youths Solidarity Network (WYSN) celebrates with the Nigerian Union of Teachers and, by extension, all teachers worldwide, on the occasion of the World Teachers’ Day today, October 5, 2022. We acknowledge the role of teachers in the building of the country, especially in raising, training, and tutoring competent youths into becoming those who will bear the responsibility to drag Nigeria out of poverty and misery.
“Indeed, teachers are builders of the future! Similarly, we reject the current woeful welfare packages provided for the teachers and we call on the government to immediately review upwards, the payment structure of teachers, introduce improved welfare packages and establish policies in favour of the families of teachers. We also call on the Federal Government to immediately meet the demands of the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) – who are also teachers – and ensure that universities are reopened immediately!
“World Teachers’ Day was established to appreciate teachers and to honour them in respect of their enormous work and tremendous impact in the community and the nation at large. We cannot imagine a Nigeria without teachers! For us in WYSN, the role of teachers is grossly underestimated, under-recognized, and under-appreciated. Without teachers, many skills, abilities, expertise and attitudes would be wasting and rotting in the streets!
“Right from a child’s tender age, teachers have been the one tutoring, mentoring, encouraging, advising, tailoring, and guiding every Nigerian child towards discovering his/her self, developing relevant skills and becoming useful individual who can advance the scientific and humanitarian discoveries that have brought us this far! Teachers give their time, skills, expertise, wisdom and talents to raise and develop other children into useful persons. Because of teachers, workers, doctors, professors, engineers, accountants etc. are not roaming about the streets but contributing their own quota towards improving and advancing nature.
“Sadly, despite all of the vital roles teachers play in developing the economy, these professionals are grossly underpaid. We believe that teachers play a pivotal role and deserve better pay. Therefore, we call on the Federal, State and Local governments to begin the process of reviewing the remuneration scheme of teachers in order to grant them a decent income.
“We also demand better welfare packages, including but not limited to scholarships for children of teachers, full health care insurance, free access to basic infrastructures (land and homes), grants and interest-free loans, among others.”
The group also called for an end to the strike action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and an immediate reopening of universities, urging the federal government to meet the demands of the striking lecturers and to completely revamp the educational sector.
According to WYSN, “While we celebrate our teachers, we cannot but call on the government to immediately meet the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) who are currently on strike demanding an improved payment structure, improved funding and adoption of UTAS, among many others. We believe that all of these demands are vital towards achieving that quality education we need. More than before, Nigeria needs to completely revamp the educational sector and put in place policies that will advance the rights of the most downtrodden layers of society. Immediate reopening of our universities is one key and primary step to achieving this goal.”
In conclusion, WYSN urged teachers as well as others to work towards building a movement for a socialist transformation of Nigeria which would not only guarantee adequate funding of education but will also “reverse the ugly trend of poor conditions and destruction of the environment under which teachers work.”
“In order to achieve the above demands, determined and well organised struggles must be prepared. The rank and file teachers must coordinate to push for such struggles.
“NUT must prioritise the need to fight all forms of neo-liberal capitalist attacks as part of the stand it has to take for teachers. Such fight must be seen as a basis towards building a movement for the socialist transformation of Nigeria.
“Only a socialist Nigeria where the commanding heights of the economy are placed under the democratic ownership, control and management of the workers can guarantee adequate funding of education as well as other social services while helping to reverse the ugly trend of poor conditions and destruction of the environment under which teachers work,” it added.
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