Members of the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) in schools and colleges in Kwara State has embarked on a three-day peaceful protest over their demands from the government.
The non-teaching staff professionals are asking the state government to extend benefits announced for teachers by the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, to members of the union.
It is recalled that the minister had said during this year 2020 World Teachers’ Day celebration that teachers would enjoy such benefits as incentives for Teachers in Public Basic and Secondary Schools in Nigeria, the extension of the retirement age of Teachers to 65 years and the years of service to 40 years from the current 35 years, as well as Special Salary Scale and enhanced allowances for teachers.
The protesters, who said they were excluded from the government gesture, said that “teachers are not the only workers in schools. Teachers work with a diverse range of non-teaching professionals and support personnel in order to achieve the set goals. The non-teaching staff in the Basic and Post Primary schools possess requisite certificates and complement the teaching staff. Therefore, our interest should be accommodated by the government in the ongoing reform.”
The requests were contained in a statement jointly signed by the National President and General Secretary of the Union, Comrade Makolo Hassan and Peters Adeyemi JP, respectively.
The people, who marched through major roads in the Ilorin metropolis, also took their peaceful protest to the state’s Head of Service, Mrs Susan Oluwole, to press home their requests.
“On October 5, 2020, His Excellency, the President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, through the Honourable Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu at the 2020 World Teachers’ Day Celebration, announced incentives for Teachers in Public Basic and Secondary Schools in Nigeria which include an extension of the retirement age of Teachers to 65 years and the years of service to 40 years from the current 35 years as well as Special Salary Scale and enhanced allowances.
“The Federal Executive Council at its meeting of Wednesday, January 20, 2021, gave approval to the incentives, while the Honourable Minister of Education announced at a Press Conference that a Bill titled: Harmonised Retirement Age for Teachers in Nigeria Bill (2021) would soon be transmitted to the National Assembly in order to be enacted into law.
“Unfortunately, the non-teaching staff in the schools’ system were excluded from this gesture of government. While we, members of the Non-academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) in the Schools and Colleges in Nigeria applaud this good gesture of government, we wish to remind the government that teachers are not the only workers in schools.
“Teachers work with a diverse range of non-teaching professionals and support personnel in order to achieve the set goals. The non-teaching staff in the Basic and Post Primary schools possess requisite certificates and complement the teaching staff. Therefore, our interest should be accommodated by the government in the ongoing reform,” the statement read.
The Union, therefore, requested the government at all levels to put an end to all discriminatory industrial relations practices against the Non-Teaching staff in the Primary and Post Primary Schools system.
The Union also urged the Federal government to include non-teaching staff in the approved Special Teacher Pension Scheme to guarantee better welfare for them in retirement and also extend their retirement age to 65 years and length of service to 40 years.
It similarly enjoined Governments at all levels as a matter of deliberate policy to do everything possible to motivate all workers in the education sector irrespective of their profession and job description.
The union also advocated training programmes for non-teaching professional staff with a view to enhancing their productivity as well as loan facilities provision that captured agriculture, housing, cars, motorcycles, etc to support non-teaching staff earnings to enhance their welfare.
The people said that the union would, on Tuesday, take its peaceful protest to the Ministry of Education, Kwara State House of Assembly while State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB)and Teaching Service Commission (TESCOM) would be the point of call on Wednesday the last day as part of efforts to press home their requests.
In her response, the state Head of Service, Mrs Susan Oluwole, urged the union to maintain the peaceful protest, assuring that their requests would get to the state governor, Mallam Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq.