Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State has said that education in the 21st century has been radically transformed, adding that in the current dynamics of learning, teachers are no longer considered reservoirs of knowledge.
Governor Okowa who stated this during the World Teachers’ Day celebration held in Asaba, noted that, in growing up, apart from our parents, the next most influential person in any person’s life is a teacher, adding that a teacher has the power to impact people for good.
The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Barr. Kingsley Otuaro, thanked the teachers, as well as the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) executives for shelving the planned strike for last month, noting that it was a good indication of their willingness and readiness to partner with the state government to deliver good and quality education by ensuring that school calendar is not disrupted.
While saying that the union has displayed remarkable statesmanship in this very trying period, the governor assured that his administration will continue to strive to improve the welfare of teachers in the state and also create more conducive learning climate in the educational institution.
The governor ,who asserted that the World Teachers’ Day offers all the opportunity to reflect on the noble profession, noted that, teacher play an invaluable role in nation building, thereby urging teachers to be good role models, mentors, motivators, lifelong learners and be courageous.
According to him, “A teacher is in a unique position to teach and at the same time, be a positive role model. A teacher must be a good example of discipline, hard work, morality, transparency and integrity. Once you lose these attributes, you lose your ability to influence those under your trust for good”, Okowa stated.
He noted that as mentors, teachers are to be creators of dynamic learning environment where the pupils/students are eager to learn, adding that a teacher should be a motivator and not one who demoralises or discourages his student through a high standard attitude or mean spirited approach to his work.
Governor Okowa while craving the patience and support of all teachers in the ongoing financial crisis of the nation urged them to be courageous, noting that often times, things go wrong in the school system and degenerate to the point of crisis because people choose falsehood over truth.
“Make the truth your watchword in life and career and watch God do great things in your life and that of your family”, the governor stated.
Earlier, in an address, the Delta State Chairman, Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Comrade Jemirieyigbe Jonathan, noted that the World Teachers’ Day celebration is a day set aside to draw attention to the invaluable contributions of teachers to nation building.
Comrade Jemirieyigbe noted that the theme of this year’s event, “Valuing Teachers, Improving their Status is no doubt apt considering the fact that the value of teachers and the need to improve their socio-economic status remain indispensable in building a great nation.
He called on the state government to urgently take-over all public schools it handed over to missions, noting that such move has become inevitable in the interest of public education.
The NUT also challenged government to immediately address the lingering acute dearth of staff and infrastructural facilities in public schools, as well as end the irregular release of legitimate check-off dues to teachers.
The chairman commended the Okowa led administration for the giant strides recorded in the education sector more so in the area of infrastructure, as well as his favourable disposition in urgently addressing some issues that almost culminated into industrial dispute which include, the approval and release of the N89m for the immediate payment of May salary to teachers.
Others include approval for the payment of July salary for primary school teachers, and upward review of graduate teachers to be promoted to salary grade level 15 and above, as well as the directive to SUBEB to furnish the state government with the information of indebtedness to primary school teachers amongst others.
He used the occasion to call on the state government to look into the recruitment of more teachers to fill the large vacuum already created and also that the state government should take back schools earlier handed over to missions in the state, saying that those schools are now shadows of their former selves.
The chairman expressed confidence in the ability of Governor Okowa to tackle all festering challenges facing the union, asserting that the harmonious industrial relation between teachers and the state government was commendable.
In his goodwill message, the state Head of Service in the state, Mr. Reginald Bayoko assured that the teaching profession will be given the status it deserved “through improvement in the socio-economic status of teachers, their living and working conditions, as well as career prospects”.