By Adesina Wahab
No fewer than 300,000 teachers in public primary and secondary schools in the country may miss benefiting from the new welfare package the government wants to implement for teachers in its employ.
Findings by the Vanguard revealed that the development is because such teachers are not licensed, certificated and registered by the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria, TRCN.
It was gathered that the government has made registration with the TRCN a condition for benefiting from the scheme.
From investigation by our correspondent, the TRCN, which conducts Professional Qualifying Examination, PQE, four times a year, has so far registered and licensed about 800,000 teachers out of the about 1.1 million teachers in public schools.
Speaking on the matter, Registrar of the TRCN, Prof. Josiah Ajiboye, said being licensed by the TRCN was a requirement to benefit from the package.
He said: “The TRCN is one of the brains that proposed the welfare package and also we are part of the implementation process.
“We have put it there that to enjoy these benefits, you must be licensed, certificated and registered by the TRCN. You have to show the evidence of your certification, registration and licensing by the TRCN before you can benefit from the package.
“So, it is part of the conditions attached to benefiting from the welfare package. You must be licensed, registered and certificated by the TRCN.”
Ajiboye added that the council had the capacity to conduct examinations for teachers yet to be licensed by it.
“We are now conducting the PQE four times a year and we have set up many centres to do that across the country. We implore those yet to do so to take the window of opportunity that is opened now and do so,” he stated.
Ajiboye also allayed the fear that government might not have the capacity to meet the financial implications of the scheme.
He said: “You know before the approval was given, certain analyses were carried out and I believe strongly that given the interest Mr President has demonstrated in the welfare of teachers, the government would find means and ways by which these goodies will be implemented for our teachers to enjoy.
He advised teachers in private schools to also take steps to be registered by the council, warning that it would heavily descend on unqualified teachers.
“For teachers in private schools, we usually have problems with them because many are not qualified to teach, they have to buckle up. If they want to be real teachers, let them go and do the needful.
‘’They may need to go for a professional diploma course in education or postgraduate diploma in education as the case may be to make sure they become qualified teachers. If they want to profit from the job of a teacher, they must do the needful.”
The new welfare package approved by President Muhammadu Buhari includes a special Teachers Salary Scale, various allowances, increase in retirement age from 60 to 65 and length of service from 35 to 40 years.
Students studying education in tertiary institutions are also to enjoy teaching practice allowance and special bursary awards.