Teachers in Abia state have been assured that their welfare is guaranteed despite the handover of schools to their original owners.
The governor who gave the assurance when he received in audience the national president of the Nigeria union of Teachers NUT, comrade Michael Olukoya and his team at the government house, Umuahia said those who want to go to missionary schools are free to do so or to remain in the state government’s employ but maintained that the government will not sack any teacher.
He stated that the decision to hand over schools to their original owners is in the interest of the people of the state and explained further that the essence of retiring directors and permanent secretaries in the state civil service who have worked for 8 years in that position is to encourage those behind to grow.
He was of the view that any permanent secretary who has put in 8 years has nothing new to offer, maintaining that to be able to pay the 18 thousand minimum wage the state has to take radical decisions.
The governor stated that education remains the biggest industry in the state while teachers are veritable partners and said that it was for that reason that he has not demeaned teachers in the state but instead has striven to uplift their welfare.
According to him, it is only in the state that teachers rise to the rank of level 16 and 17 and called on teachers in the state to be diligent in their duties as many of them are non chalant in their duties.
He disclosed that his administration has given overseas scholarship to 23 students of Abia origin to pursue different disciplines.
Earlier in his address, the national president, Nigeria Union of Teachers( NUT)comrade Michael Olukoya appreciated the governor for appointing seasoned educationists as commissioner for education, chairman of ASUBEB and executive secretary , secondary Education Management Board (SEMB.) and for procuring seventeen Hilux vans to local government education secretaries for effective supervision of schools, the procurement of three hummer buses to ASUBEB coordinators to monitor upper basic schools, continuous renovation of dilapidated infrastructure and building of new structures in schools.
He appealed that the process of appointing school heads should be based on seniority and merit and stated that the union is averse to the state government’s decision to hand over schools to voluntary agencies in the state.
Comrade Olukoya noted that the payment of the enhanced allowances (TSS)to teachers has been irregular and argued that they view the issue of retirement of teachers who have been on salary grade 16 and 17 for upwards of eight years as tantamount to sweeping out the cream of experienced teachers who are still in service as a move likely to crumble the system.