Metro

April 16, 2024

Poor remuneration: Pitiable condition of private school teachers

Poor remuneration: Pitiable condition of private school teachers

… It impacts education negatively — TRCN boss

By Elizabeth Osayande 

As the nation faces an economic crunch and the purchasing power of citizens decreases, some teachers in private schools are simply in pitiable condition. No thanks to the poor remuneration they are being paid.

Most affected are teachers in semi-urban areas and low-cost schools. With a monthly salary of between N20,000 and N30,000 and the continual depreciation of the naira, one can imagine the untold hardship some teachers go through to survive. 

My salary of N30,000 is not enough

For Mrs Rita Ifeanyi (not real name), a graduate of one of the universities in the South-South, accepting N30,000 monthly as salary in the school where she teaches CRS and Government in JSS and SS classes, was one of the best offers she got in the Okokomaiko/Igbo-Elerin area of Lagos.

Her words: “Yes, I read Education at the university; however, my efforts to get good-paying jobs were unsuccessful. What schools pay in my area? The highest is N20,000. So you can imagine how I grabbed this one, which pays N30,000 monthly. Here, I teach SS1-3 Civic Education. And for JSS 1-3, Civic Education and CRS.”

On how she survives on the meagre salary, Mrs Ifeanyi said, “I do extra lessons at home for children. Though the salary is small, it goes a long way. I must tell you, it is not easy for my family.”

Another teacher who craved anonymity and who teaches in one of the schools in Iyana-School, Iba New Site, explained that the highest-paid staff in her school gets N17,000. 

“I am a graduate who spent five years at the university. However, the lack of a job and the cost of transportation, if you get one, made me settle for this teaching job. I handle one of the preschool classes in my school, where I am being paid N16,000. Here, we are mostly graduates, yet the highest salary in that school is N17,000 for teachers. However, I can’t say what the HM gets.”

On how she manages her income: “I and some teachers do extra lessons in the school. This is after we close at 3:30 p.m. You can imagine the trauma of going home at 6:00 p.m. every day to face your house chores and other duties. It is better imagined. But, what can one do?”

When asked if she could change jobs, she said, “I can. But getting one that pays more may entail spending all that salary on transportation. Besides, I spend nothing on transportation coming here as it is a walking distance from my house to the school.”

I had to resign when my N20,000 salary was irregular

Another teacher in Agbara area who craved anonymity explained: “In my previous school, I taught JSS 1-3 Civic Education and SS 1-3 English Language. Guess what? The salary was N20,000, and we weren’t paid whenever schools went on break or holiday. The least they paid a teacher there was N10,000. There, a teacher was also earning N12,000, and she was teaching Basic 4 and 5 different subjects.”

No NAPPS member will pay less than minimum wage — President

The National President of the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools, NAPPS, Chief Yomi Otubela, noted in a chat with Vanguard Newspaper that no school owner under NAPPS can pay such an outrageous salary of N20,000 or below. 

His words: “We are not aware of such payments. We are aware that the minimum wage remains at N30,000, even though the economic situation has warranted such an adjustment. For any school under NAPPS, none is paying below the minimum wage. As far as I am concerned, schools under NAPPS pay above the minimum wage.”

He, however, reiterated that such schools may belong to other professional bodies.

Implication of such on education is terrible —TRCN boss

The Registrar of the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria, TRCN, Prof. Josiah Ajiboye, said private school owners must be ready to compensate their teachers if they want to get the best out of them.

“While we have challenges with some private schools, we agree that they exist to support what the government is doing. We need to sustain the standard. Maximisation of profits leads to engaging staff members and paying them peanuts. They are mostly unqualified and cannot be termed teachers. The so-called teachers being paid tokens are not teachers. They are gatecrashers. They see teaching as a last resort. They are not professionals. 

The implication is that it is negatively impacting the quality of teaching and, ultimately, the quality of students produced. We need good and quality teachers.