Strike By Fct Nut

Call Teachers Back To The Classrooms: Call Off The Strike By Fct Nut Wing Immediately

A research, advocacy and development organization, HipCity Innovation Centre, has expressed deep concern about the ongoing strike affecting the public primary schools in the FCT. In the last 2 years, the Nigerian Union of Teachers have declared strike actions at least 3 times. First in December 2021, second strike was in January 2022 and now September 11 2023 the third strike with a strong warning to the government that the strike will not be called off if their demands are not met.

According to media reports released in the early hours of September 11 2023, by the FCT wing of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) has directed its members across the six area councils to embark on an indefinite strike over non-payment of N14.3 billion arrears owed over a period of 25 months, non-implementation arrears, non-upgrading of concerned teachers, non-implementation of annual increments, non-implementation of promotion letters released for teachers and a 40% peculiar allowance by the council chairmen among others. It is however worthy to note that the demands of the NUT have remained the same over the last 2 years of strikes.

As parents and students across the 36 states of the Federation prepare to resume school today after the long school holiday, their counterparts in the FCT are shocked with the announcement of the NUT strike causing parents and guardians to keep their children back at home while waiting with crossed fingers for the decision and next big announcement of the key players in the education sector.

Government school pupils are yet to recover from the backlog of school activities orchestrated by the COVID 19 pandemic and the effect of previous strikes. With children resuming new classes today, the strike action will disrupt their academic calendar year. Most times to make up for the delay caused by strike actions, pupils are over loaded with school work in a bid to rush the school curriculum to meet up with that of private schools. When such happens, the overall academic performance of a child is affected leaving the school system to churn out students who are half baked and not fit to glide through the academic demands of the society.

We are even more worried about children who school in communities far away from the city center. These children who are predominantly original inhabitants of the FCT have over the years experienced a high level of setbacks and deprivation in accessing education. Even till date, the state of their schools is in a heart wrenching condition with little or no facilities to enhance learning to the extent that a lot of times, they only go to school not for the benefit of it but because it is a crime for parents not to send their wards to school. If the strike lingers for too long, these parents and children will find a perfect and justifiable reason not to return to school but rather stay back to farm or be married off; further increasing the number of out-of-school-children in Nigeria and decelerating the gains made to improve school enrolment.

While we acknowledge that the FCT wing of the Nigerian Teachers Association have a justifiable reason for their decision and hope for a quick redress of their demands, it is also crucial for both parties to be reminded that the FCT as Nigeria’s administrative capital should be a model to other States. Unfortunately, the standard of primary education in Abuja is abysmal, disgraceful to say the least. The FCT government and the respective Area Councils cannot remain aloof to the reality of the teachers and pupils considering that many of the administrators, government officials alongside the politicians all have their children in private schools if not out of Nigeria.

Education cannot wait, the education of young Nigerians and the original inhabitants of Abuja cannot be stifled on the altar of politics; HipCity Innovation Centre as a leading advocate for responsible and accountable governance re-affirm that addressing the concerns of the striking workers is crucial. Their demands reflect genuine issues that must be addressed promptly and fairly. However, we believe that continued negotiations, rather than incessant and indefinite strikes, should be the path forward. The government must demonstrate its commitment to the welfare of the NUT by prioritizing their demands and providing them with their entitlements. We urge both the government and the striking parties to come to the negotiating table with the interest of the public at heart, an open mind and a shared commitment to finding common ground. We emphasize that finding a swift and equitable resolution to this situation before the issue grows out of proportion is the way forward.

Finally, we call on Hon. Danladi Chiya the FCT ALGON chairman as well as chairmen of all area councils to promptly respond to the beckon of the NUT FCT Wing and swiftly address their grievances. We also call on other relevant stakeholders involved in this issue to work together towards a timely and peaceful resolution so that school pupils across the six (6) area councils of the FCT can return back to school this new academic session.

HipCity Innovation Centre remains dedicated to promoting a Federal Capital Territory where access to education is a priority, an FCT where no child is left behind, where there is an efficient and progressive educational system for pupils to learn and original inhabitants have improved learning experience.

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