State governments across the country yesterday eulogised the contributions of teachers to nation building as part of the celebration of 2020 World Teachers Day.
As part of the celebration, Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State rewarded 20 teachers in the state for their outstanding performance in adapting to the technologydriven EdoBEST@home initiative in the wake of the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the state.
The governor also launched the Edo Supporting Teachers to Achieve Results (Edo STAR) Teaching Fellows Programme, a three-year intensive training and field experience programme for teachers and aspiring teachers who will be transited into the State Civil Service on completion of the programme. At an event organised to mark the 2020 World Teachers Day with the theme, ‘Leading in Crisis, Reimagining the Future’, Obaseki said anyone without requisite training would not be allowed to teach in schools in the state.
He said: “Within the period of COVID-19 lockdown, over 7,000 virtual learning classrooms were created from over 9,000 physical classrooms. Approximately, 20,000 pupils a week took the daily virtual quizzes. “I am really amazed because if anyone had told me that our teachers will be able to adapt to the usage and navigation of these various devices from remote platforms, I would have said no, because these were the same teachers touted as if they knew nothing.”
The governor praised one of the awardees, Mrs. Ruth Ani, a beneficiary of the NPower programme, for her dedication even when she was not an employee of the state government.
Ani got N1 million and was made the first candidate to be selected into the Edo STAR Teaching Fellows Programme which is a direct pathway into the civil service based on outstanding performance. In Ogun State, Governor Dapo Abiodun appreciated award-winning teachers in the state with cash prizes and a house.
The governor offered Mr. Odegbola Ayodele, a Junior Secondary School teacher from Abeokuta Grammar School, who also won the overall Best Teacher in the state, a two-bedroom bungalow in the state-owned Princes Court.
Mr. Adewale Abayomi from Odua Comprehensive High School, Imoru, who was the Best Teacher in the Senior Secondary category, was given N2.5 million while Mrs. Mary Adeyemi from St. Paul’s School II, Sagamu, who was the best Primary School Teacher went home with a cash gift of N2 million from the governor.
Abiodun said the state government had formally instituted a yearly Best Teachers Awards in this category to appreciate outstanding teachers in the state and those who had distinguished themselves in the course of carrying out their duties.
The governor disclosed this while addressing executive members of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), Academic Staff Union Secondary Schools (ASUSS) and All Nigerian Conference of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPSS), to mark this year’s World Teachers Day in his office at Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta. He said: “We will continue to celebrate innovation. We will encourage consistency.
Our administration will continue to make the welfare of our teachers our priority. Our teachers’ reward will not be in heaven, but here on earth.”
On his part, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State described the roles of teachers as crucial to nation’s development. He added that government policies in education sector would not succeed without the unflinching support and cooperation of teachers. Fayemi said this at the 2020 World Teachers Day celebration in Ado-Ekiti. He urged the teachers to brace up for the tasks of rebuilding the school system which had been under lockdown in the last six months.
Meanwhile, the state NUT Chairman, Mr. Samuel Olugbesan, and the state ASUSS Chairman, Mr. Sola Adigun, in separate presentations, commended Fayemi for his giant strides in the education sector.
They cited the introduction of free and compulsory education; renovation of schools; appointment of three tutors general among the secondary school principals; establishment of four new secondary schools to address the challenge of overcrowding in some schools and implementation of 2015 promotion with financial benefits, car and housing loans for secondary school teachers as part of the goodies the teachers had received from the government.
Highlight of the event was the presentation of checks of N400,000 each to the best teachers in the primary and secondary school categories, among other prizes and promises to the teachers.
The beneficiaries are Mr. Abiodun Olukayode of AUD Pilot Nursery and Primary School, Ado-Ekiti and Mr. Owoeye Femi Samuel of St. Augustine Comprehensive High School, Oye-Ekiti. Earlier, the Commissioner for Education and Technology, Dr. Olabimpe Aderiye, expressed her appreciation to the governor for his efforts at repositioning the sector and ensuring welfare of teachers in the state.