Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has described teachers as major stakeholders in the drive towards nation building, adding that government policies in education sector cannot succeed without the unflinching support and cooperation of teachers.
Dr Fayemi stated this at the 2020 World Teacher’s Day celebration, in Ado-Ekiti on Monday. He urged the teachers to brace up for the tasks of rebuilding the school system which had been under lockdown in the last six months.
The Governor spoke just as the Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Mr Samuel Olugbesan and Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools (ASUSS) Mr Sola Adigun, in separate presentations, commended the Governor for his giant strides in the education sector.
They cited introduction of free and compulsory education; renovation of schools; appointment of three tutors general among the secondary school principals; establishment of four new secondary schools to address the challenge of overcrowding in some schools and implementation of 2015 promotion with financial benefits, car and housing loans for secondary school teachers as part of the goodies the teachers had received from the government.
Governor Fayemi in his keynote address at the event enjoined teachers to maintain the hard work for which they were known in order to improve on the remarkable performance of students in their external examinations and other related academic activities as they are gradually returning to school.
He applauded the steadfastness and dedication of the entire teachers in the State, both in the public and private schools many of whom could not attend the ceremony which was held in line with Covid-19 safety protocols that disallow large gatherings.
In attendance at the event were the Deputy Governor, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi, Wife of Governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi; Speaker of Ekiti State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Funminiyi Afuye; Commissioner for Education, Dr Olabimpe Aderiye; members of the state executive council and House of Assembly as well as other stakeholders in the education sector.
Speaking on welfare of teachers, Dr Fayemi who said there were other developmental projects begging for attention, however promised that government would continue to ensure payment of salaries as well as make more efforts to pay outstanding ones as economy improves.
The Governor reinstated his administration’s commitment to the welfare of teachers as well as students, said the outbreak of the coronavirus earlier in the year was responsible for the slight delay in the issuance of letters of employment to newly recruited teachers in the state. He however said that applicants that had already been interviewed would collect their letters soon.
Dr Fayemi also promised to look into the various demands of the teachers which include effecting promotion of teachers from 2015 to 2018; outstanding salaries of primary and secondary school teachers owed by the immediate past administration as well as making teachers advance to GL17.
He alerted the teachers to the fact that the Covid-19 pandemic was still prevalent, urging them to ensure proper use of the facilities provided for them in order to keep the pandemic out of the school system and from Ekiti state.
While ascertaining that teachers has important role to play in the development of the society for improved future, the Governor urged the teachers to see their calling as one to assist in the personal and continual development of the learners.
He reiterated the commitment of his administration to pursue compulsory, functional, basic and free education to ensure that all school age children are in school in accordance with the mandate of the National Policy on Education Law.
Expressing his appreciation to the teachers, Dr Fayemi said,
“I Also commend you all for your immense contributions to nation building. I know quite well that policies in education sector cannot succeed without the unflinching support and cooperation of teachers. It will not be an overstatement for me to say that all of us have enjoyed the mentorship and benefitted immensely from the services of a teacher to attain our present status in life.
“In light of this, our government recognizes critical roles of teachers in the development of the education sector in Ekiti state. We will keep putting every measure in place towards empowering teachers, improving and professionalizing teaching through the activities of the Teaching Service Commission and the State Universal Basic Education Board.
“We are not unmindful of the importance of quality education to manage the socio-political and economic challenges being encountered by the society. A good and dutiful teacher is not just a person who teaches academic lessons, rather, he is the one who mentors and helps the learner in each sphere of his life.
Highlight of the event was the presentation of checks of N400,000 each to the best teachers in the primary and secondary school categories, among other prizes and promises to the teachers. The beneficiaries are Mr Abiodun Olukayode of AUD Pilot Nursery and Primary School, Ado Ekiti and Mr Owoeye Femi Samuel of St. Augustine Comprehensive High School, Oye Ekiti.
Earlier, the state Commissioner for Education and Technology, Dr Olabimpe Aderiye expressed her appreciation to the governor for his efforts at repositioning the sector and ensuring welfare of teachers in the state.