WORLD TEACHERS’ DAY: NIGERIAN TEACHERS DESERVE BETTER PAY AND WORKING CONDITIONS!
TEACHERS, STUDENTS AND ALL EDUCATION WORKERS MUST UNITE TO FIGHT AGAINST ALL ATTACKS ON PUBLIC EDUCATION!
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) felicitates with teachers on this years’ occasion of World Teachers’ Day. We acknowledge the important role teachers play in the society as those who impact knowledge in students. Equally, we recognize the enormous challenges teachers are faced with. Teachers are some of the worst paid workers in Nigeria. Many especially those who teach in private schools are subjected to low pay and horrific working conditions including sack without notice. This is why on this occasion, the ERC demands improved pay, full implementation of the N30, 000 minimum wage, payment or all owed salaries and allowances by state governments and better working conditions for all teachers including those who teach private schools. There are private school teachers who earn as low as N7, 000 per month! This is not just a situation in the rural areas and examples of this kind of super exploitation abound in cities like Lagos. The existence of low-paid, slave-like and casualised working conditions for teachers in private schools demean and devalues the labour of all teachers. We hereby call on the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) to initiate a campaign to unionize all private school teachers in the country in order to be able to defend their rights and improve the value and worth of teachers’ labour in the country. Linked to this is also the need to fight for a properly funded and democratically managed public education system.
Today, the reality in the education sector is saddening, as government at all levels has left the education sector in a decrepit condition as a result of years of inadequate funding and undemocratic management. This is because pro-capitalist governments in line with neo-liberal policies are not always committed to funding social services like public education. Instead, they provide an enabling condition for the rise in the number private schools where exorbitant fees are charged and inaccessible to children of the poor, including children of teachers.
In the Education Rights Campaign, we stand against all attacks on public education, including those directed at poor teachers like non-payment of salaries and benefits, delayed promotion etc. importantly, all attacks on public education are attacks on teachers, and so far it affects the quality of education. For instance, not only students, but teachers too suffer from the decaying condition many public schools are in. This is because such decaying condition like overcrowded classes, ill-equipped laboratories and inadequate number of teachers translate into poor working condition like excessive workload for teachers which itself impact on the ability of teachers to carry out their basic responsibility effectively. So, we call on teachers to demand, in addition to better pay and conditions of service, the building of adequate decent classrooms and recruitment of teachers in order to meet the standard requirement of a maximum one teacher to 35 student class size and also the provision of facilities like well-equipped laboratories and libraries.
We seize this opportunity to urge teachers to build their union into a fighting and democratic union that can defend their rights and fight against attacks on public education. On the basis on the economic crisis created by the capitalist ruling and the continuous inadequate funding of the education sector, there are bound to be loads of attacks on public education. This is why it is important to have a vibrant and democratic union of teachers that is capable of leading resistance movement against anti-education policies. However, we note that the struggle against attack on public education should be a joint struggle of teachers, students and other education workers as well as parents. Therefore, we call for the united struggle of students, teachers, and other educational workers and parents. It is important to add that all of the crises bedeviling the education sector are a reflection of the profit-driven system of capitalism; any struggle to save public education on a permanent basis must be connected with the need to replace the capitalist system with a socialist system thereby putting an end to all crises of capitalism.
Deputy National Coordinator
Comrade Adaramoye Michael Lenin
Acting National Mobilization Officer
ERC email: firstname.lastname@example.org