The chairman of Anambra State Universal Basic Education (ASUBEB), Chief Patrick Ugbaja, has urged the federal and state governments not to hand-off the payment of teachers’ salary across the country in the name of local government autonomy.
Chief Ugbaja, who spoke with the Daily Trust in Awka, said if local government takes over the payment of primary school teachers salaries, it will negatively affect the system.
Ugbaja, who was reacting to the planned local government autonomy, said primary school teachers are better paid and promptly too now that federal and state governments are involved.
“When local government were responsible for the payment of salaries of teachers, the teachers were owed up to seven to nine months salary arrears and allowing them to take over in the name local government autonomy will mark the beginning of unpaid salaries and rubbish all gains made over the years,” he said.
According to him, leaving primary school teachers’ salary in the hands of local government authorities will be dangerous, saying that since primary education is foundation, it must be left in the hands of federal and state governments for stronger foundation.
Meanwhile, he said that Anambra state government is giving priority attention to welfare and salaries of teachers in primary schools because it understands the importance of primary education.
According to him, the state government saw primary education as an important agent of development, hence prompt payment of salaries as at when due.
“Anambra- state government sees primary education as core to education development and it prioritise teachers salary and welfare as such, moved their payment to first charge line payment that must be paid before any other salary,” he said.
Ugbaja said that government was serious in early child education and because of that, it is investing heavily to make sure that children in the state get the best foundation in education.
According to him, as part of efforts to strengthen the primary education system in the state, government had in the last eight years employed over 3000 teachers to strengthen the primary education sector.
He, however said despite the government’s intervention in the area of employment of fresh teachers, the state needs more teachers at the primary level.
According to him, the state government has about 166 public primary schools and 258 junior secondary schools, noting that there are need to recruit more teachers, especially now that many are retiring.