…Decries teachers’ poor welfare
By John Alechenu
The presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar, has reiterated his call on government at all levels to give adequate attention to the management of the education sector in the country.
The former Vice President said this in commemoration of World Teachers’ Day, which is celebrated yearly on October 5.
Atiku, who spoke during the commissioning of the Security Health and Education, S.H.E Initiative office in Abuja yesterday, said it was regrettable that education was not getting the proper attention it deserved from all stakeholders.
The Security Health and Education, SHE, Initiative is the brainchild of Atiku’s wife, Hajiya Titi Amina Abubakar.
According to him, the poor management of the education sector, which is manifested in poor remuneration of teachers and the attendant consequence of prolonged industrial action by teachers, cannot engender the kind of progress and development the country deserves,
Atiku said: “With the increasing expansion of the poverty line across all age demographics, the smartest direction to go is to invest in education. When people are educated, it becomes a lot easier for them to create wealth and make personal decisions that will promote a good lifestyle for their families and the society.
“The current practice whereby education takes the last rung of our investment priorities is not only self-sabotaging, it is indeed a threat to national security.
“Most of the challenges that face us today in the name of security issues are concerns that started from illiteracy and later grew to economic dis-empowerment, which soon grew into national security concerns.”
He said notwithstanding the poor working conditions of teachers in many states, they had continued to contribute their quota to nation building.
The Waziri Adamawa recalled that as globally attested to, “no nation can grow higher than the quality of its education system and no education system can grow higher than the quality of its teachers.
To this end, he affirmed that progress and development might continue to elude the nation unless and until there were trained and well-motivated teachers.
The PDP candidate described as unacceptable, a situation where some states owe teachers’ salaries for months, noting that it is counterproductive for our development initiatives.
He expressed a firm commitment to address the plight of teachers and indeed of the entire education sector working in collaboration with the state governments if elected as president in next year’s election.
Also speaking at the event, his wife, Hajiya Titi, noted that the S.H.E Initiative was borne out of a genuine concern to reverse the trend of the ugly socio-economic realities in Nigeria that had pushed many people, especially women, to the receiving end of economic hardship.