Clement Idoko, Abuja
Nigeria’s former permanent representative to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Professor Michael Omo-lewa, made the call at the 80th foundation’s day of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) and presentation of the maiden annual Reverend Israel Oludotun Ran-some-Kuti Memorial Lecture, in Abuja.
The inaugural lecture was coming 56 years after the death of the founder and first national president of the union, Reverend Ransome-Kuti, who died in 1955.
He founded the union in 1931 as a voice for struggle, towards better working condition for Nigerian teachers and improvement of education in the country.
Professor Omolewa said the desire for quality education in the country would remain elusive, if teachers were continued to be treated with neglect and disdain.
“To get the good standard of education, all that is required is a better wage and earning system for the teachers,” he said, adding that “once that is given, automatically, there will be greater concentration, grea-ter energy, greater zeal, greater dedication and greater commitment.”
He added that other variables such as an enabling environment in terms of good laboratories, equipment and libraries, among others, should also be accorded utmost priorities at all levels of education in nigeria.
“Therefore, I want to assure you that once all these are available, the teacher will come up again and the standard will not only rise, but it will get to the next level,” Professor Omolewa said.
Delivering the inaugural lecture, entitled: Reverend Israel Oludotun Ransome-Kuti: Partnership builder for promoting teacher, Omo-lewa described the late Ransome-Kuti as a committed and patriotic teacher, who Nigerian teachers at all levels should emulate.
Nut president, mr. Michael alogba olukoya, in his remark, observed that the survival and economic greatness the nation is yearning for, was depended on the quality and material condition of the nigerian teachers.
He, therefore, called on president goodluck jonathan to give “teaching and teachers, the pride of place they deserve on national agenda”.
Olukoya, also used the occasion to call on president jonathan to include teachers in the annual national merit awards in recognition of their sterling contribution to the development of the country.
He urged jonathan as a seasoned teacher and educator, to cause a “revolution in educational policy and practice, one that pays attention to teachers’ condition of service and sustained quality of education.