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Buhari speaks on plans for Nigerian teachers, N-Power

ABUJA, Nigeria – President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Abuja said the Federal Government is ready to engage more qualified teachers to increase the teacher-to-pupil ratio in the country.

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Receiving the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Buhari acknowledged that Nigeria had a deficit of teachers, which his administration is addressing through the N-Power Teach Volunteers scheme under National Social Investment Programme (NSIP).

“We have created a dedicated platform under the National Social Investment Programme called N-Power Teach, which engages qualified graduates to man the gaps of basic education delivery in Nigeria.

“These N-Power Teach Volunteers are deployed as teacher assistants in primary schools across Nigeria to support existing teachers.

“The aim of this, and many other Government programmes, is to increase the teacher-student ratio at the primary school level thereby enhancing the quality of students moving to secondary schools.

“I want to take this opportunity to ask all members of Nigeria Union of Teachers to support these programmes and encourage as many qualified and willing graduates to enrol in the teaching profession,’’ the President said.

In his remarks, NUT President, Dr Nasir Idris, commended the Buhari administration strides in the education sector.

“Gigantic gains in the anti-corruption crusade, technical defeat of Boko Haram terrorists in the North East, restoration of teaching and learning in the schools of the North-East geo-political zone that were affected by insurgency, securing the release of Dapchi schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram insurgents.”

The union leader also praised the Buhari government for sustaining the National School Feeding Programme, establishing the National Secondary Schools Commission to regulate secondary education and the proposed establishment of six federal colleges of education across the geo-political zones of the country.

Presenting some pressing challenges of the teachers to the President, the NUT leader appealed for presidential assent to the Bill on Teachers Retirement Age, and the Teachers Special Salary Structure (TSSS), among others.

According to Idris, the Teachers Retirement Age, when signed into law, will improve teacher-to-pupil ratio in the country, improve teachers retention rate in public primary and secondary schools and ‘‘revolutionise and strengthen the profession for the wellbeing of the nation’s schools.’’

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