By Oluwatobi Alabi
STAKEHOLDERS in the education sector have stated that teachers are pivotal in the quest for national growth, just as the Nigerian Breweries unveils the 2017 Maltina Teacher of The Year in Lagos.
In a paper delivered in Lagos by Professor Aloy Ejioguto to flag-off this year’s contest, he said that teachers are unarguably invaluable drivers of societal norms, values and growth, adding that no other person can have such overarching influence on the life of the young members of our society as the teacher.
According to him, teachers’ impact is not only outstanding by its success stories, but also by its potential and real time errors, noting that whereas the medical doctor buries his mistakes, and the engineer dies with his mistakes, the entire society perishes with the mistakes of the teacher.
He said: “Can you ever imagine Nigeria without a pre-primary, primary, secondary and tertiary teacher? Or what more, a Nigeria replete with demotivated, disgruntled, unqualified and incompetent teachers who cheat their way through this sublime and noblest of human responsibilities? What would we have in return? Ejiogu queried.
Mr. Chika Abanobi, Education Editor of The Sun Newspaper, and a discussant at the flag-off ceremony re-echoed Ejiogu’s position and affirmed that a nation is as good as the quality of his teachers. He advised stakeholders in the education sector to step up their game to halt the slide in the quality and standard of education in the country.
In his contribution, Apostle Adekunle Olaoye, Chairman of the Parents’ Forum of Babs Fafunwa Millennium Senior Grammar School, Ojodu, Lagos, submitted that education remains the best legacy a nation can bequeath to the younger generation. He commended the promoters of the Maltina Teacher of the Year initiative for the bold step taken to motivate teachers across the country.
Mr. Imoh Essien, 2016 Maltina Teacher of the Year, a teacher from Special Education Centre for Exceptional Children, Uyo, Akwa Ibom, called on government and other corporate organisations to emulate the gesture of the sponsors of the initiative to motivate teachers and improve the standard of education in the country.
Also speaking at the occasion, Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr. Oluranti Adebule, represented by Mrs. Yetunde Odejayi, Permanent Secretary, Deputy Governor’s office, Lagos State, described teachers as the most critical asset of the nation and thanked Nigerian Breweries for the initiative she described as a big boost to teachers and the teaching profession.
In his remarks, Managing Director of Nigerian Breweries Plc, Mr. Nicolaas Vervelde, represented by Mr. Kufre Ekanem, the Company’s Corporate Affairs Adviser,explained that in 2015, the Nigerian Breweries-Felix Ohiwerei Education Trust Fund expanded its intervention in education in Nigeria to teachers through the Maltina Teacher of the Year initiative. The initiative, he disclosed, was hinged on the realisation that teachers seldom get the recognition they deserve in spite of the pivotal role they play in determining the quality of education. He declared that so far, the Maltina Teacher of the Year initiative has produced 42 State Champions and two overall winners.
Vervelde added that entries for the 2017 Maltina Teacher if the Year opened on Tuesday 9th May 2017 and will close on Friday 7th July 2017. Interested teachers are advised to download application forms from the Maltina website – www.maltina-nigeria.com. Applications forms should be completed and uploaded to the website or sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or post to P.M.B. 12632, Marina, Lagos. Mr Vervelde asserted that the company will maintain the focus adopted for the 2016 to include teachers from both public and private secondary schools across Nigeria.
Like last year, each State Champion will get Five Hundred Thousand Naira (N500, 000.00) and the Top 10 teachers will be recognized before the grand winners are announced. The 2nd and 1st runners-up will receive trophies and an additional Seven Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira (N750, 000.00) and One Million Naira (N1, 000, 000.00) respectively.
The Maltina Teacher of the Year 2017 will get an additional One Million Naira (N1, 000, 000.00) instantly plus One Million Naira every year for the next five years, a development training opportunity abroad and a block of classrooms built at the school where he/she teaches.