by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
The Chairman of Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), Chikun LGA of Kaduna State, Comrade Syrus Hassan, has said about 300 of their members have not been paid their monthly salaries.
He made the revelation in an interview with newsmen at the venue of a One-Day Conference titled, ‘Dignity of a Teacher 2023,’ organised by Uncle Focus Educational Consult and General Contract Ltd, on Friday in Kaduna.
Comrade Hassan further lamented that teachers are still lagging behind in terms of welfare, adding that some of their members have not been getting any benefits and incentives like leave grants.
He said, while government has tried its best in educating teachers by making it important for them to improve their knowledge and attend workshops, there was need for them to be paid their wages.
“The conference is educative and will add value, dignity and respect to teachers, who found their way to the conference. It’s to enlighten and update their knowledge on so many things that teachers are supposed to know.
“The government has tried its best in educating teachers for making it important for them to see the need to improve knowledge and attend workshops.
“Actually, to say the truth, teachers are still lagging behind in terms of welfare. We want to thank them, but up till now, there are teachers that are still not getting one or two benefits and incentives – like leave grants – for years, but we know that it cannot go round.
“Government is trying but up till now we have teachers that have not been getting salaries in Kaduna State. We have been pressing on to see that the teachers are paid but till now we still have a number of them that have not been paid for several months.
“Unpaid teachers are up to about 300,” he lamented, calling on government to pay the wages of teachers, who are owed salary arrears, blaming some on bureaucratic bottlenecks and long process procedures as being responsible for the delay.
“Some of the old teachers are having certificate saga. It was realised that their certificates had issues. Some have been cleared and approvals given to be paid, but till now not paid. Non-teaching staffs like Security, Nanny, amongst other regular employees, have also not been paid for almost two years now.
Also speaking, the Lead Consultant and Co-founder of Uncle Focus Educational Consult and General Contract Limited, Ziniyet Godwin Hillary, commented, saying, “We are NGO working around education and everything about it. We have the vision of making education both in Kaduna State, Nigeria, Africa and the world, more efficient.
“We add innovation to education, to support schools, individuals, school owners, teachers and children to make education more efficient and better.
“The Conference was inspired by the various engagements we had with teachers in 2022. We engaged 1,500 teachers across public and private schools in Kaduna State and outside Kaduna State.
“We realised there is uniformity in their cries as teachers. And it boils down to how their dignity as teachers has been trampled upon. They are the light and conscience of our society.
“We need to carry teachers on our shoulders; they are our heroes. We need to respect them. This conference is bringing in teachers from both public and private schools to talk and discuss on issues affecting or bothering them – making classrooms engagement, teaching and learning easier and better.
“Topics featuring in the conference include the role of teachers in nation building, civic participation, dignity and how teachers can leverage on technology to make their work more effective and easier,” he said.
Ziniyet Hillary noted that, most Nigerian teachers are behind in education tech, saying, “So we bring them together to sensitize them on these purpose – the consciousness that they need to meet up with the rest of the world in education technology.
“We are covering all the 23 LGAs in Kaduna and all states in Nigeria. Lives of teachers in Kaduna are not where it’s supposed to be yet.
“My late mother was a teacher. Four years after her death, we have not been able to access her death benefits. So, imagine what will happen to us, if we are not working. Government and NGOs and others need to push for better life for the teachers,” he advised.
Mrs. Sarah Atu N, who is Acting Education Secretary in Chikun LGA, also said in an interview that stressed the importance of involving their teachers with a view to upgrading their dignity.
“I saw the need to involve my teachers because it has to do with upgrading the dignity of them. The teachers need to know that they should also promote their own dignity, not waiting for government alone all the times or any other body to promote their dignity.
“The conference came at the right time we are. The participants are expected to be 2,000 but because of the crisis of cash and transport we’ve over 300 here – Primary Schools teachers and that of Senior and Junior Secondary Schools.
“Teaching, as a profession, has value and we bring them here to added value to it, only from Chikun LGA participating now,” she said.