Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says efforts are underway to increase the retirement age of teachers in Nigeria’s public service from 60 years to 65 years.
Osinbajo disclosed this on Tuesday while hosting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Oluwabunmi Anani, Maltina Teacher of the Year, 2020 Winner, as part of 2021 World Teachers Day celebration.
Anani was accompanied on the visit to the Presidential Villa, by Uzodinma Odenigbo, Head of Public and Government Affairs, Nigerian Breweries Limited (NBL).
The vice president said that there were also moves to employ teachers into the public service starting from level 8 as against level 7.
“So, I think also important to reward teachers; the Federal Government, on its part, has been doing a bit of work in trying to improve the lot of teachers.
“For example, there is policy now, though not a law yet; it is still in the National Assembly about moving the retirement age of teachers in the public service from 60 to 65.
“That’s an additional five years; then also looking at their remuneration.
“I think one of the questions that have arisen is when the teacher comes into the public service; in the past, they used to come in at Level 7, which is not the level that a graduate would come in.
“Part of the policy is that they should come in at Level 8; but of course this has to go through various processes and all that.’’
Osinbajo said that President Muhammadu Buhari had shown tremendous concern about teachers and how to improve the lot of teachers.
He said that the states had a role to play as issues of primary and secondary education were essentially the function of states.
“So, again, just to say that it is a tremendous honour and pleasure to meet with you and to congratulate you on your serving now for almost a whole year as the Maltina Teacher of the Year.
“To say that I hope and pray that you will do even more, achieve even more, attain even more and that you will not be discouraged.
“You won’t be distracted and that God will help you as you help so many others.’’
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Earlier, Anani said she served at Government Girls Secondary School, Yola, Adamawa, as a youth corps member.
She said that afterwards, she got employed at Concordia College, Yola, in 2013.
Anani said that as an English Language teacher, she had prepared the students who performed excellently in examinations over the years.
On his part, Uzodinma told the vice president that Anani’s students benefited by virtue of the award as NBL built a block of six class rooms in the school.
Moreso, the vice president was celebrated as great teacher for 40 years by some alumni students of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) who he taught Evidence Law in a period spanning from 1981 to 2021.
In a video footage, the vice president’s former students spoke one after another of Osinbajo’s teaching prowess and how he impacted on them as a Law lecturer.
Osinbajo expressed excitement at the gesture of his former students and said that teaching was something he did effortlessly because of his passion for it.
“I certainly did not expect to be celebrated in this way; as a matter of fact, I did not even realize until this moment that I am actually 40 years as a teacher.
“Yesterday, when I was doing a video for the Teachers’ Day, I was saying, well, I must be close to 40 years; I didn’t realise that it was 40 years since I started teaching.
“But, I am deeply grateful to all of you for the very kind words; your very generous remarks about me, about my humble effort to pass information to you.
“I was just speaking to Anani, who is the Maltina Teacher of the Year, 2020 Winner, that a lot of teaching is a calling and that the passion that one demonstrates and all of that, is really from deep down and I found that as a teacher, it was not a chore at all; it was not difficult for me at all,’’ he said.
The vice president said that he could spend long hours teaching or talking to his students because he thoroughly enjoyed it.
Osinbajo thanked them for the gesture and prayed that they be celebrated also by all of they had impacted on.
Among the vice president’s former students who celebrated him were the Deputy Chief of Staff, State House, Ade Ipaye and Chiedu Ugbo, Managing Director, Niger Delta Power Holding Company.(NAN)