*As Union, teachers hail Gov’s achievements, ask for more
By Stephen Olufemi Oni, Ilorin
Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has described the teachers as the centrepiece of his administration’s transformative agenda in the education sector, reassuring them of government’s continuous commitment to their welfare, including addressing all pending issues in phases.
AbdulRazaq stated this on Wednesday in Ilorin, the state capital, at a state government’s event celebrating the World Teachers Day, where no fewer than 61 teachers drawn from every part of the state and across different stages of education got awards of excellence.
The awards came with varying expensive gifts, which the Governor called a token of appreciation for those who mould the future of the next generation with their sweats, expertise, and patience.
In his address, the Governor said: “If there is anyone that we are obliged to honour and celebrate, that is the teacher. On that note, I thank all of you for your efforts, sacrifices, and commitments.
“The World Teachers’ Day is the idea of UNESCO in line with the 1966 Recommendations on the Status of Teachers across the world.
“The theme of this year’s anniversary speaks directly to us in Kwara State. Our huge investments in the education sector are closely tied to teachers and school heads. You are the key drivers of the transformation that we seek. As we commit billions of naira to improve the learning environment, we are similarly funding the multibillion naira KwaraLEARN programme which seeks to improve the capacity of our teachers and boost learning outcomes for our children.
“Between 2019 and now, we have ensured prompt payment of salaries — unlike before. The implementation of the minimum wage has raised the size of what we take home every month. We have similarly reduced the backlogs of promotion arrears. Training and retraining is more constant today. For those at the basic schools, we are already addressing the disparities in the salary as we recently pointed out. More will be done to address your genuine concerns.
“But we need to do a lot more. For this reason, our administration is willing to adopt the FG’s new age limit and service years for teachers once it is passed to us. Next year, we will launch an annual teachers’ award to boost the morale of classroom teachers and administrators. Similarly, we will collaborate with relevant Federal Government’s agencies to ease home ownership for interested teachers. Details of this are being worked out.
“Dear teachers, I appreciate your sacrifices. I acknowledge that our plan to give the right foundation to the Kwara child can only succeed with your full buy-in. I therefore appeal to you to continue to do your best for humanity and for our state. Posterity will be kind to you.”
The Governor again had a no-holds-barred interactive session with teachers, where the latter commended his strides in the sector and urged him to bridge the pay gaps between teachers of junior and secondary schools in the state.
Professor Billy Olajide, a university teacher who keynoted the event, commended the sacrifices of the teachers, urging them to come together, work very hard, and justify huge funds going into the education sector.
“Teachers should come together, teachers should work very hard and justify huge funds going into education sector so that the government can listen to us. We thank God we have a listening Governor. He has demonstrated it here today and hope you will justify it,” he said.