By Francis Ogwo
A new approval by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved that teachers in the country are to get special allowances and an increase in the retirement age from 60 to 65 years or 40 years in service as against 35 in the new Harmonized Retirement Age for Teachers Bill, 2021.
The bill is expected to give legal backing to new measures by the Buhari administration to enhance the teaching profession in the country.
The disclosure was made by the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, during a briefing with State House correspondents at the end of the first Council meeting of the year, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja on Wednesday.
According to the minister, some of the highlights of the Harmonized Retirement Age bill, which has been forwarded to the National Assembly for consideration and approval, include the introduction of bursary award, special rural posting allowances, science teachers’ allowance and other measures to boost the performance of the teachers and attract the best brains.
The Minister said the government’s decision to increase the years was to reward teachers’ dedication to duty and also to make the profession more attractive.
Adamu said: “This memo that was approved for the Ministry of Education is a giant step towards what we set out to do last year, with the approval of some special packages for teachers by the President.
“So, at the meeting today, Council approved that a bill which will be called harmonized Retirement Age for Teachers in Nigeria Bill 2020 be sent to the National Assembly for enactment into law so that all the promises made by the president and all the approvals he had given to me will now begin to be put into effect because this is the legal backing that is required for it.
“The essence of the bill actually is to give legal backing for the approval of a new retirement age of 65 for teachers and then the service period being extended to 40 years.
“The intention is to attract the best brains to the teaching profession and for that, the president approved the reintroduction of bursary awards, improving teacher quality, funding teaching practice from TETFUND, the enhanced entry point for teachers.’’
The implication is that when passed and signed into law, the implementation of the Harmonized Retirement Age for teachers means the retirement age of teachers has been extended to 65 years as against the existing 60 years or 40 years of service as against 35 years that currently apply, whichever of the two that comes earlier.
The bill will help to motivate the teachers across the country and attract the best brains in the profession which had been bedevilled with poor condition of service for the teachers and poor funding.
Recall that many had over the years lamented the decay in the education sector in the country while hammering on poor welfare of teachers which many believe to be a threat to impactful teaching of children
This, on the long-term, leaves them with poor post-retirement welfare among other issues.