Editorial: Bursary for education students, a welcome development

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At the World Teachers Day celebration in Abuja on October 5, 2021, the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, announced that the Federal Government would soon commence awarding of bursary in universities and colleges of education across the country. He said N150,000 and N100,000 has been earmarked for each undergraduate in an education programme and NCE students respectively, per session.

This development is a welcomed one and we hope it would be sustained and impact the development of a standard education and quality of educators in Nigeria public academic institutions.

According to the Minister, the reintroduction of the bursary was part of the resolutions of the National Implementation Committee constituted by the government following President Muhammdu Buhari’s pronouncement in repositioning the nation’s education sector and the teaching profession in particular, during 2020 World Teachers Day celebration. He said his ministry would liaise with the 36 states’ education ministries, including the FCT Education Board, with a view to effecting the new scheme. The fund would be sourced from UBEC, TETFund and managed by the Federal Scholarship Board.

To operationalise the bursary, the Federal Government would identify the respective courses of study required by each state, and to qualify for the award beneficiaries must attend public institutions only and sign a bond to serve their state for five years after graduation.

To further ensure that welfare of teachers is guaranteed and elevate the status of the profession to an enviable one, Adamu said his ministry would collaborate with agencies like National Teachers’ Institute (NTI), Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN), Computer Professional Council of Nigeria (CPN), National Universities Commission (NUC), National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE), Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), and non-governmental organisations to organise trainings in pedagogy and information and communication technology for academic and non-academic staff.

The Minister revealed that government would partner with estate developers and recognised institutions like Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, Federal Government Staff Housing Loans Board, FGSLB, FME Staff Welfare, and Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) to finance affordable homes for teachers on build-operate-and-transfer basis.

We recalled that last year, the Federal Government increased the number of service years for the teachers from 35 to 40 and retirement age from 60-65. The President also approved the expansion of annual Presidential teachers and schools awards to cover more categories with outstanding winners to be considered for National Awards and National Productivity Order of Merit (NPOM) awards.

He also approved prompt payment of salaries and other entitlements including consideration for first-line charge in annual budgets, timely promotion of teachers to eliminate stagnation, provision of loan facilities, free tuition and automatic admission for biological children of teachers in their respective schools to encourage and retain them in the system.

This is highly commendable and should spur commitment in the profession while also making it an enviable one, however, a year after the announcement of the new salary scale, it is yet to take effect, of recent the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, said the implementation would commence in 2022. We hope the government would take this promise to the realm of implementation. We also urge the 36 states government to ensure they implement the new salary scale.

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