By Victor Young
NON-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions, NASU, is not happy with the Federal Government over the discrimination against non-teaching staff of primary and secondary schools.
NASU has taken every opportunity to express its feelings to the the Federal Government over the situation.
Therefore, it was no surprise that the President of the union, Dr. Makolo Hassan, at NASU’s recent National Executive Council, NEC, meeting in Abuja, was furious that the government has refused to address the issue.
According to him: “We have been doing everything possible for the Federal Government to have a rethink, and bring equity, justice and fair play into the President’s policy statement, made in favour of teachers on Teachers’ Day 2020. The policy statement, which is now being implemented, is discriminatory against the non-teaching professionals and support staff in the basic education and foundational sub-sector. Steps taken by the union to get the government to make it an all-inclusive policy for workers in the basic and foundational sub-sector, include writing letters to the President and the Minister of Education and holding a three-day awareness march in all the states of the federation.
“In all these efforts, the reason we gave was that, teachers are not the only workers in the basic and foundational sub-sector of the education sector. Teachers work with quite a diverse range of non-teaching professionals and support personnel. While we conceded that teaching is central to schools, we pointed out that it is also obvious that a positive, congenial, safe and healthy working environment conducive for teaching and learning is also important, which teachers alone cannot provide and guarantee.
“We were invited to a meeting by the Minister of Education on 16th February, 2021 to discuss the issue. Unfortunately, the meeting did not hold. Rather, the Director of Human Resources of the Ministry, came into the venue of the meeting, to inform the union’s representatives who had already assembled in a Committee Room they were ushered into, that other pressing national issues had taken the Minister out of the Ministry’s environment.
“The union’s representatives stated the reason why they sought for audience with the Minister and again presented to him a copy of the letter earlier forwarded to the Minister on the issue. The Director promised to brief the Minister and said he was very sure another meeting will be convened.”
“As at today, no follow up meeting has been convened; rather, the Goodwill Message of the President at the 2021 Teachers’ Day Celebration, sustained the discrimination. We have maintained that we are in support of the President’s policy statement, which was made in favour of teachers, because we regard the policy direction as genuine acts of an employer, aimed at motivating employees towards increased productivity, with a view to giving quality education to our children as envisaged by the Constitution. What we are asking is for the government to make the policy an all-inclusive policy by accommodating non-teaching professionals and support staff in basic and foundational sub-sector of our education sector.”