Earlier this week, President Muhammadu Buhari, as head of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), approved the Harmonized Retirement Age for Teachers in Nigeria Bill 2020, and sent to parliament for proper legislative process, with the expectation it will become law as soon as possible.
This effort on the part of the Buhari administration had been in the works since the celebration of World’s Teachers’ Day on October 5, 2020.
The bill seeks to increase the retirement age of teachers from 60 to 65 years and also increase the possible years of service from 35 to 40 years.
In the bill’s DNA is a special pension scheme to enable the teaching profession to retain its experienced talents.
Other promises include building low-cost housing for teachers in rural areas, and sponsorship to at least one refresher training per annum to benchmark best practices for improved teaching and learning.
President Buhari has also approved the reintroduction of bursary awards to education students in universities and colleges of education, with the assurance of automatic employment upon graduation, among others.
Buhari has said the Tertiary Education Fund (TETFUND) will now fund teaching practice in universities and colleges of education.
It is indubitable that no nation can develop without an educated populace. Therefore, we dare say that with the ‘Harmonized Retirement Age for Teachers in Nigeria Bill 2020’, President Buhari has taken one of the boldest steps at development in Nigeria’s modern history.
Teachers are arguably the most important members of society. They give children purpose, set them up for success as citizens of our country, and inspire in them a drive to do well and succeed in life. The children of today are the leaders of tomorrow, and teachers are that critical point that makes a child ready for their future.
Children carry what they are taught at a young age throughout the rest of their lives. They will use what they have learned to influence society.
Teachers have the ability to shape leaders of the future in the best way for society to build positive and inspired future generations and therefore design society, both on a local and global scale. In reality, teachers have the most important job in Nigeria. Those who have an impact on the children of society have the power to change lives. Not just for those children themselves, but for the lives of all.
Education is therefore a fundamental aspect in the development of a country. If the youth of a society is educated, a future is born. Teachers provide the education that improves quality of life, therefore bringing so much to both individuals and society as a whole.
Teachers increase productivity and creativity of students and therefore, of future workers. When students are pushed to be creative and productive, they are more likely to be entrepreneurial and make technological advances, ultimately leading to economic development of a country.
But it is difficult to get the best impartation of knowledge on the youth if teachers are not properly motivated. It is plausible that the much talked about dwindling quality of education in Nigeria can be ascribed to lack of motivation in that sector.
That is why we applaud the bold step of President Buhari to inspire life in the education sector by this laudable move. By that move, teachers will be held accountable when they don’t invest their best in that all-important job they do.
But not only that, the sector will also be positioned to attract the best talents and passion for the job, as well as weed out mere job seekers for such a sacrosanct call.
With this initiative on the part of President Buhari, we believe that even after 2023, he will go down in history as a game-changer in Nigeria’s economic development.