President Goodluck Jonathan Saturday told teachers in the country to act as agents of positive change and transformation, saying doing so will in no small measure assist the nation in achieving its education goals.
Speaking while declaring open the 2013 World Teachers’ Day in Abuja, Jonathan said he made the call in his dual capacity as President and a teacher himself.
Meanwhile, the National Union of Teachers (NUT) has insisted on joining ASUU in its ongoing strike following the ultimatum given to the Federal Government to end the impasse with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) which expired on Thursday.
The President, who was represented by Vice-President Namadi Sambo, further challenged the teachers to work harder in imparting useful knowledge, discipline and patriotism to the younger generation.
“On this important Teachers’ Day, we are making a call for teachers to give their utmost in achieving our education goals.
“We are calling for teachers who love the profession, not just teachers who impart knowledge to earn a living.
“We are calling for effective teachers, who assume ownership of the classroom, invest time with students and work creatively for their success.
“Indeed, we are making a call for teachers both in service and out of service, to act as agents of positive change and transformation for our dear nation,” he said.
The President reassured that government on its part was committed to addressing the challenges in the nation’s educational sector.
He, therefore, called on all stakeholders in the sector to support the teachers in their sacred assignment of building the present and future leaders of the country.
“If we must develop as a people and a country, then, we cannot afford to leave this important task to our teachers alone. We must reason with them, we must work with them, and we must continue to support them,” he added.
Jonathan noted with delight the roles being played by the Nigerian teachers in sustainable development of the country and thanked them for their immense contributions in the field of medicine, science, technology, politics and the economy.
He said his administration was determined to address teachers’ shortage and improve the quality of education by reinforcing the training and retraining of the teachers.
According to him, this is why the recruitment of teachers and teacher professional development at all levels is one of the focal areas of the education sector reforms.
He announced that government had so far trained 40,000 teachers at the National Teachers’ Institute (NTI), while the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) had expanded its support in the training of 5,000 lecturers across higher educational institutions.
Accordingly, he said, government approved the construction of micro-teaching laboratories in all Federal Colleges of Education and one College of Education in each state.
In his remarks, the supervising Minister of Education, Mr. Nyesom Wike, commended the leadership of the NUT for their support and understanding in the realisation of the nation’s education goals.
He reassured that government would continue to implement policies and programmes aimed at uplifting the quality of education in the country.
Wike also stated that government would abide by all agreements reached between it and all trade unions in the educational sector for peace to reign in the nation’s institutions.
The National President of NUT, Comrade Michael Olukoya, urged the three tiers of government to stop recruiting unqualified people to teach in schools across the country.
He also called for an end to the ongoing Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike, urging all parties in the dispute to put Nigeria first in their consideration.
Gov. Abdulfatai Ahmed of Kwara, who received NUT award for excellence in Education at the event, expressed optimism that the ongoing strike by ASUU would soon come to an end.
Other recipients of the award were the Governors of Enugu and Yobe States, Mr Sullivan Chime and Alhaji Ibrahim Gaidem respectively. [ThisDay]