Teachers in public primary and junior secondary schools in Kogi State said on Tuesday that they could no longer guarantee quality teaching in the state.
The teachers, under the aegis of the Basic Education Staff Association of Nigeria, told newsmen in Lokoja that the poor welfare condition of members had made quality teaching impossible for now.
The Chairman of the state chapter of BESAN, Mr Ohino Baiye, explained that government had refused to pay members the minimum wage of N18,000 which other workers in the state had been enjoying since 2011.
He also rejected the ongoing 60 per cent payment of teachers salary from the bailout, saying they must be treated equally with other workers by being paid 100 per cent.
“Even the 60 per cent payment made did not go round,” Baiye said.
The chairman also opposed the sudden increase in PAYE deductions from the payment of the outstanding March, April and May salaries of teachers, saying that this must be reversed immediately.
He further appealed to the government to ensure the payment of leave allowance as well as effect promotion and annual incremental steps which had been outstanding in the last six years.
Baiye expressed BESAN’s support for the recent screening of workers in the state, demanding, however, that the report of the exercise be made public as quickly as possible.
But the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Strategy, Alhaji Abdulkarim Abdulmalik, said the 60 per cent wage being paid to teachers was based on the agreement reached with the Nigeria Union of Teachers.
Abdulmalik pleaded with the teachers to be patient as the government was already taking steps to pay them the balance of 40 per cent.
On their outstanding allowances, the adviser said that the issues would be addressed only after the payment of outstanding salary arrears from the bailout funds.
He said that education remains a top priority of the administration, adding that teachers’ welfare and rehabilitation of infrastructural facilities in public schools were at the centre of the reform to be carried out in the education sector.