By Funmi Komolafe& Austin Ogwuda
ASABAâ€”THE Nigeria Union of Teachers and the Governor of Delta State, yesterday in Asaba traded blames on who shouldÂ take responsibilityÂ for the collapse of theÂ nationâ€™s education system at all levels.
The duo expressed theirÂ views at the opening session of the national delegates conference of the Nigeria Union of Teachers,Â whichÂ beganÂ in Asaba, Delta State, yesterday.
While the President of the NUT, Mr. Abdulwaheed Omar,Â said the education system has continued to face serious difficulties â€œfollowingÂ the uncoordinated nature of government policies and actions, coupled with the absolute neglect of the teachers.â€
Delta StateÂ Governor,Â represented by his deputy, Prof. Amos Utuama, SAN, said, however, that â€œwhile I am not advocating that every issue in this critical sector shouldÂ be left to the teachers alone, it must be acknowledged that the major bulk of the solution still rests with the teachers.â€
GovernorÂ EmmanuelÂ Uduaghan said, “while we appreciate the contributionsÂ they are making to the sound moral and educational upbringing of our children, certain realities that stare us in the face demand that more is required from them.â€ Omar, who is also the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress,NLC,Â said, â€œtoday, more than everÂ before, happenings in the nationâ€™s education system indicate that the dream of education for all by 2015 might not be realised after all.
For the past four years, rather than an improvement, public education has driftedÂ furtherÂ in the woods.â€
The NUT president who was making his valedictory address, said that â€œinfrastructuralÂ facilities in schools remain dilapidated all over the country, laboratories and libraries are not common features in schools, instructional materials are grossly lacking while teachers’ development and welfare are yet to be given due attention.â€
Also speaking at the opening ceremony,Â theÂ NLC, represented by the Deputy President, Mr Peters Adeyemi, called on President Goodluck JonathanÂ to â€œrevisitÂ those key recommendations of the Uwais CommitteeÂ that the executive earlier rejectedâ€.
The NLC commended Dr. JonathanÂ for â€œ keeping to his promiseÂ to federal civil servants on May Day, that the industrialÂ dispute with unions in the public serviceÂ over relativity wouldÂ be resolved within threeÂ months.Â The Presidentâ€™s declaration in his May 29, national broadcast that this will come into effect from July 1, 2010 is a very welcome development.â€
The NLC however saidÂ issues concerned with the National Minimum Wage is â€œyet to be conclusively addressedâ€.
It stated that although the tripartite committee has concluded itsÂ work, â€œthe ballÂ is now in the court of the Mr. President to submit a new national minimum wage legislationÂ to the National Assembly based on the negotiations of the tripartite committee.â€