The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the Harmonized Retirement Age for Teachers Bill 2021, which seeks to give legal backing to new measures by the current administration to enhance the teaching profession in the country.
The Council meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, yesterday, approved the bill to be forwarded to the National Assembly for consideration and possible approval. If passed by the lawmakers, the retirement age of teachers will move from 60 years to 65 while the years of service will also move from 35 to 40. The Council also approved the sum of N1.484 billion for the electrification of Calabar Free Trade Zone Area.
Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, who disclosed this to State House correspondents at the end of the Council meeting, said some highlights of the bill include the introduction of bursary award, special rural posting allowances and other measures to attract the best brains to the profession.
Adamu said: “This memo that was approved for education is a giant step towards what we set out to do towards the end of last year with the approval by Mr. President of some special packages for teachers. So, at the meeting, the Council approved that bill, which will be called Harmonized Retirement Age for Teachers in Nigeria Bill, 2021 to be sent to the National Assembly for enactment into law. So, all the promises the president made and all the approvals that he has given me will now begin to put into effect because this is a legal backing that is required for it. “I want to assure teachers that this government will do to them what has never been done.
This is the first biggest step. “The intention is to attract the best brains to the teaching profession. For that, the President approved the reintroduction of bursary awards, which I told you here last year, improving teacher quality and funding teaching practice.
“From TETFUND, he approved an enhanced entry point for teachers. Then, he approved that there should be some special allowances that will allow teachers to be posted to places you can consider ‘hardship postings,’ rural posting allowance, science teacher allowanc and, of course, we have Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN) under us that has professionalised the profession. Those are the highlights, which you already know.
But this is the biggest stage now. We are getting legal backing for all these things. “The essence of the bill is to seek approval so that there is legal backing for the new retirement age of 65 years for teachers and the service period being extended to 40 years for teachers. This is the main issue while all other issues are ancillary to it.