Education needs holistic reforms – NLC chair

EMERGENCY DIGEST- Chairperson, Lagos State Chapter of Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Agnes Funmi Sessy, has called for holistic reforms in the education sector, noting that the country used to be a hub for standard and quality education.

She spoke as the keynote speaker during the First State Quadrennial Roundtable Conference of the Nigeria Women in Education Network (NIWEN) organised by the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Lagos State branch.

The event, which held in Ilupeju, Lagos, also witnessed the election of women into key offices in NUT.

The theme of the conference was: “Women as agents of peace and stability in the union”.

Sessy stated that it was imperative for stakeholders to also converge and chart a way forward for the education sector.

“The education sector needs holistic reforms. Government should revamp the sector. Education is not a cheap venture. Any serious government would make education a priority. Nigeria used to be a hub for standard and qualitative education in the past. People come from other countries to study and learn our culture and traditions. The reverse is the case now. We also need a convergence of stakeholders to address issues,” she said.

The Labour leader, who noted that the standard of education was high in the past, urged government to address union issues in public tertiary institutions.

She urged the Federal Government to swiftly accede to the demands of striking lecturers for students to return to school.

Sessy stated that the union’s demands were not solely about its welfare but all round improvement of the education sector.

“Government should meet ASUU’s demands. The demands are not about their welfare alone, but they want a total improvement in the education sector. Then, it is not only about ASUU, but other unions too. Government should attend to their needs. Polytechnics and colleges of education are not left out too,” she said.

Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and other university unions have been on strike for over three months. The unions’ demands include better funding for the nation’s public tertiary institutions and improved welfare for their members.

Recently, the government released N34 billion for the payment of minimum wage consequential adjustments from 2019, however, ASUU maintained that it would not call off the strike until its major demands are met.

Sessy encouraged teachers to participate more in union activities with their expertise and knowhow, urging them to be agents of peace.

She also asked them to upgrade their skills to advance in their career.

Lagos State NUT Chairman Mr. Hassan Akintoye appealed to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to implement the new law which increased the retirement age of teachers from 60 to 65 and the duration of service from 35 to 40.

President Muhammadu Buhari signed the harmonised retirement age for Teachers’ Bill into law in April.

The bill, which has now become law, increases the retirement age of teachers from 60 to 65.

It also extends the duration of service for teachers in the country from 35 to 40.


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