Of course, the NUT is not against the action of government against any teacher’s dereliction of duty. No establishment will condone that. And we too cannot support any teacher that is not taking his or her duty seriously. Much as we want them to earn what they are supposed to earn, they will also put in their best to justify the package that is being given to them.
As the Rivers State Universal Basic Education Board (RSUBEB) recently threatened to sanction teachers in the state who are found wanting in the discharge of their duties, Apostle Samuel Manda, the Principal Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), has added his voice to the threat, contending that the umbrella body of teachers in the state would not protect indolent teachers.
He said the threat by the schools’ board was in order as no establishment would condone dereliction of duty on the part of its employees.
Manda who made the declaration in this encounter with The Tide On Sunday in his Port Harcourt office last Thursday said the NUT would not support any teacher that is not taking his or her job seriously.
His words: “Of course, the NUT is not against the action of government against any teacher’s dereliction of duty. No establishment will condone that. And we too cannot support any teacher that is not taking his or her duty seriously. Much as we want them to earn what they are supposed to earn, they will also put in their best to justify the package that is being given to them.”
On the new Teachers’ Salary Scale Scale (TSS), which among other issues made teachers in the state to embark on industrial action last September, the Principal Secretary said the governor of the state, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi was well- disposed to ensuring that teachers in the state were paid the TSS.
According to him, the TSS was on course as the committee set up by the governor to work out the financial implications of the demands of the teachers had already submitted the first part of its report.
He explained that the governor had already approved the report and mandated another committee to verify grey areas contained in the report for prompt action, stressing that another round of meeting with the governor was scheduled for November 21 2009.
He said other contending issues would be mopped up and thrashed out during the meeting to actually make teachers happy while fostering industrial peace and harmony in the state.
He further assured that as soon as these issues were properly addressed, the school system in the state would function without hitch.
His words: “The TSS is on course. We have discussed with our governor and he is disposed to look into the TSS demands. He had set up a committee that is working out the financial implications for his approval. We hope that once the committee’s report is ready, we are looking out for his positive action.”
On what the committee headed by the state Commissioner for Education, Ms Alice Nemi has been doing since it was set up a couple of weeks ago, the principal secretary said: “The committee is on course. The first report of the committee reached His Excellency on 15 of October, 2009. His Excellency has approved part of the report and also re-commissioned another committee to still go in to verify certain grey areas in part of the report that concerns the UBE sector. His Excellency scheduled another meeting with the house on 21 November, 2009. So, we hope to meet with His Excellency on that day to see the way forward. We hope that by that next meeting, we will be able to mop up the remaining issues and have everybody to rejoice and also have industrial peace and harmony in the state”.
Commenting on the governor’s swift response to the demands of the NUT in the state, Manda said it would go a long way to boost teachers’ morale in the discharge of their duties particularly at the end of the day when the contending issues must have been adequately addressed.
Hear him: “The quick response of the governor in addressing our grievances this time around, and given that spirit, I believe that he will equally give approval to all necessary issues that were presented by the committee come the next meeting with him. And I would want to assure that if these issues are properly cleared and attended to, the school system will function without any other hitch. Teachers will be happy to do their work because they are satisfied relatively. So, there will be morale upturn in the teachers of the state.”
Asked if the NUT had put any machinery in place to supervise and monitor the activities of teachers in the state, he replied: “We will not do the job of government. Our business is to ensure the welfare of our members. It is the business of the government to ensure that their employees do their jobs according to the rules. NUT cannot go and start inspecting and supervising teachers. That is the role of government. Government has its inspectorates and supervising departments. We are not objectionable to their activities because they are paid for supervising teachers. Teachers should be supervised. We all know what supervision is all about. Supervision does not mean victimisation or vindictiveness. It is a system of relationship between the teacher and the supervisor.”
According to him, the NUT would always encourage the Ministry of Education and schools’ boards to visit schools across the state to supervise teachers and find out if they are doing the right thing.
Commenting on the new model primary and secondary schools being built by the present administration across the state, Manda said it was a worthwhile venture that was giving pride and prestige to the state, the teachers and the NUT, and commended the governor for the gesture.
He, however, appealed to the governor to extend similar gesture to the manpower operating the new facilities in the state, stressing that the governor had through the model schools polished the teaching and learning environment in the state.
His words: “The new model primary and secondary schools are superb. They have given a good image to the state and the teachers themselves. For the teachers to work in a clean and decent environment is a prestige. In fact, the governor has made us proud, and has made teachers to take pride in their jobs because our problems had been shanty environments parading as schools set up. But now that the governor has polished the teaching and learning environment, we now have new structures, painted and well furnished, with green grass around them, beautiful sights. People will like to be identified with such an environment, and it gives pride to teachers of Rivers \State and the NUT.
We are happy and we wish he accomplishes the 1000 model schools he has mapped out for his four years. We are praying against anything that will not enable him to accomplish this. We give kudos to his four years of governance. NUT was the first organisation that gave an award to the governor when he came into office and declared a state of emergency in the education sector. We were the first body that gave him an award for the love he has for education. That is why we are praying that having started the job, and having come to improve the infrastructure in schools, he should also look inwards by improving the manpower that will operate the infrastructure by also making teachers to feel a sense of belonging so that they would discharge their duties with passion, commitment and dedication.”