2012 Teachers’ Day
2012 Teachers’ Day
Taking a stand for teachers and education
On October 5, members of DSM participated at events marking this year World Teachers’ Day in Oyo and Osun states. We intervened with various leaflets, banners and our paper, Socialist Democracy (SD). In Oyo state, Abbey Trotsky, the state secretary of DSM, was the lead speaker at the public meeting organized by the Ibadan North branch of the teachers’ union. Between the two states, 91 copies of the paper were sold. The reports below reveal that teachers used the occasion to demand improved conditions
OYO: Abbey, DSM Member, Speaks At NUT Public Symposium
“NUT must prioritize the fight against all forms of anti-poor capitalist policies … as a basis towards building a movement for socialist transformation”
By Ola Jimoh
About 1,000 teachers were in attendance at a public symposium organized by the leadership of the Ibadan North branch of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) to commemorate this year’s world teachers’ day.
The world teachers’ day which was first celebrated in 1994 following its inauguration by the United Nation Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is a commemoration of the October 5th, 1966, the day a special intergovernmental conference adopted a recommendation which for the first time defined the status and rights of teachers worldwide. Since its inauguration Nigeria has always been among other dozens of countries across the world where this day is always celebrated. The theme of this year’s edition was: Take a stand for Teachers.
Interestingly, the celebration of this year’s world teachers’ day in Ibadan North branch of the Oyo State Wing of NUT, the largest local branch of the NUT in the State, was generally acknowledged by many teachers who participated in the celebration to be so unique among its kind. This is because; the occasion provided an opportunity to highlights issues that affect teaching profession as well as teachers condition while demands were placed on the government at all levels to immediately begin to pay adequate attentions to the needs and concerns of teachers.
The Secretary of the Oyo State Chapter of Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM), Abbey Trotsky, was invited as a guest speaker to the symposium. Undoubtedly, this invitation is recognition of the work of the DSM in supporting and intervening in many workers’ struggle that had broken out in the state in the last few years.
Five DSM members attended the symposium. While the symposium on, we set up a special stall at which DSM banner; our paper – Socialist Democracy (SD) and various leaflets like the DSM leaflet on sacked workers and the ERC leaflet on fee hike and education attacks were displayed. 48 copies of SD were sold while 12 teachers expressed interest in joining the DSM.
Abbey Trotsky in his speech described the terrible condition such as poor welfare package; absence of necessary working tools and poor environment under which teachers both in private and public sector work. This is a manifestation of long-time conscious failure of Nigeria government at all levels to pay necessary attention to teachers’ working conditions and education funding.
According to Abbey, there can be no better way to define the theme of this year world teachers day than as a clarion call on the leadership of the NUT which organises both primary and secondary school teachers, to kick-start the process of organizing and mobilizing teachers both in private and public schools to fight for improvement in pay, teaching conditions and adequate funding of public education.
To take a stand for Teachers means that NUT must insist that teachers deserve a living wage, as well as better working condition and environment. In addition, the NUT must join other education workers unions like the Academic Staff of University Union (ASUU) to fight for proper funding of public education and democratic management by government at all levels in order to guarantee adequate provision of functional facilities and well-motivated manpower for quality education. The NUT must also consider as part of its stand to be taken to consciously and seriously pursue a campaign to unionize teachers in private schools across the country.
Again, in taking a stand for teachers, the NUT must refute the deceit that government cannot fund education alone. In fact recent statistics analysis shows that Nigeria’s crude oil production/day is 2.5million barrel. At the rate of $133 a barrel of crude oil is currently being sold at the international market, Nigeria makes nothing less than $282.5million; $8.475billion; $101.7billion on daily, monthly and yearly basis respectively. The Naira equivalent of this figure is N16.272tr/yrs. With 2012 estimated budget of N4.5tr, there is a huge sum of N11.772tr Nigerian ruling class and its representatives in government cannot account for.
If the money the Nigeria state makes from the sale of crude oil alone is well utilized and democratically used it is enough to begin to transform the entire educational sector as well as other sectors of the economy. However Abbey revealed that as long as various anti-poor capitalist policies like privatization, commercialization, devaluation, commercialization, retrenchment, deregulation among others remain the economic philosophy of various governments across the country formed on the basis of pro-rich, anti-workers political parties like PDP, ACN, ACCORD, APGA, LP etc social services like education, health, will always be starved of adequate funding
NUT must prioritize the need to fight all forms of neo-liberal capitalist attacks as part of the stand it has to take for teachers. Such fight must be seen as a basis towards building a movement for the socialist transformation and reconstruction of Nigeria.
Only a socialist Nigeria where the commanding heights of the economy are nationalized and placed under the democratic control and management of the workers and poor that can guarantee adequate funding of education as well as other social services while helping to reverse the ugly trend of poor condition and environment under which teachers work.
He concluded by calling on teachers to join the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) in its campaign for a socialist transformation of Nigeria.
OSUN: Agitation against Anti-Worker Policies of Aregbesola/ACN Government Gains Echo
By Ayo Ademiluyi
This year’s commemoration of World Teachers’ Day in Osun State was marked by the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) Osun State branch at the Technical College, Osogbo on October 5, 2012.
The Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) issued a special leaflet on the World Teachers’ Day which raises issues peculiar to Osun State including pension fraud and non-implementation of the 2011 minimum wage. We equally put up a stand at the venue of the programme bearing the Socialist Pary of Nigeria (SPN) and DSM banners. We circulated the ERC leaflets calling for a joint campaign of education workers, students and youth against the capitalist attacks on public education.
In discussion with the teachers, they warmly welcomed the efforts of the DSM and equally gave voice to the agitation for the implementation of N18,000 minimum wage by the ACN-led Rauf Aregbesola regime.
This mood was really reflected in the speech of Saka Adesiyan, the NUT Osun State Chairman, who doubles as the NLC State chairman. He called for N18,000 minimum wage implementation; He also raised the demands for proper funding of basic primary and post-primary education as against the total neglect by all levels of government, hiding under the guise of “true federalism”.
In her response, the Deputy Governor of Osun State who represented the Governor was silent on the question of N18,000 minimum wage, while enumerating so-called achievements of the regime.
In all, 43 copies of the Socialist Democracy were sold while five comrades intervened. We also marched with our banners in solidarity with the teachers and we were acknowledged from the podium.