President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has expressed his administration’s unwavering commitment to ensuring that teachers receive the recognition and rewards they deserve.
He acknowledged the challenges facing Nigerian educators, including overcrowded classrooms, limited resources, and inadequate professional development opportunities, which he attributed to the prolonged neglect of the teaching profession.
Speaking during the 2023 World Teachers’ Day celebration at Eagle Square, Abuja, President Tinubu, represented by Vice President Kashim Shettima, emphasized that safeguarding Nigeria’s future requires investing in education, empowering teachers, and providing every child with the necessary tools for success.
In his keynote address titled “Teacher Appreciation: Nurturing Minds, Changing Lives,” Vice President Shettima outlined the government’s commitment to education reform, focusing on creating a system that recognizes the role of education in driving innovation and global cooperation.
The President stressed that education is not just a means to individual success but also a path to global harmony and sustainable development. He expressed gratitude to Nigerian teachers, acknowledging their role in breaking down barriers and creating a society where merit, talent, and hard work surpass one’s background.
President Tinubu acknowledged that teachers face new challenges and opportunities in the digital age, characterized by artificial intelligence and technological advancements. He announced the revision of guidelines, in collaboration with the Minister of Education and the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, to prioritize information technology (IT) and artificial intelligence (AI) as teaching technologies.
One significant policy initiative highlighted by the President is the Harmonized Retirement Age of Teachers in Nigeria Act 2022, which allows dedicated teachers to serve for up to forty years or until reaching the age of sixty-five, whichever comes first. To benefit from this initiative, teachers must possess contemporary teaching skills, including proficiency in information technology.
President Tinubu emphasized that teachers’ roles have evolved to include technological adeptness, adaptability, and innovation, preparing students for an ever-evolving job market. The government’s plan for the education sector aims to harness the potential of new learning technologies, modernize educational infrastructure, and align with global trends in education.
The President’s Teachers and Schools Excellence Awards were presented as part of ongoing efforts to recognize and appreciate the contributions of teachers throughout the year, not just on World Teachers’ Day.
The event also featured remarks from the Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, and the National President of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), Comrade Audu Amba, who commended government initiatives to improve teachers’ welfare and working conditions. They called for increased funding for the education sector, support for technology integration in teaching, enhanced security in schools, and infrastructure improvements in public schools.
Goodwill messages were delivered by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, represented by Hon. Mark Useni, and the Minister of State for FCT, Dr. Mariya Bunkure. Notable attendees included the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Education, Sen. Adamu Usman, and other dignitaries.
The event showcased the government’s commitment to acknowledging the vital role of teachers in Nigeria’s transformation and its dedication to fostering a culture of teacher appreciation and excellence.