By ANDREW OJIEZEL
In an apparent bid to forestall another period of delay or unpaid salaries, teachers in primary schools today protested against return of schools to local government authority.
The teachers, under the umbrella of Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Oyo State chapter, in Ibadan, who trooped out against the move, said they don’t want their salary to go through the councils.
They maintained that that payment of primary school teachers and the funding and management of primary schools should not be given to the local government.
The rally which was led by the state NLC Chairman, Comrade Niyi Akano, along with Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Waheed Olojede took off at the Agodi State Secretariat of the State where they delivered a protest letter to Governor Abiola Ajimobi.
Some of the inscriptions on the placards carried by the teachers read: “Nigerian Union of Teachers, Oyo State Wing says no to local government autonomy. Basic education is a right of every child”, “Local government councils do not have the capacity to pay primary school teachers’ salaries”, basic education is a right and must be protected by all.”
Others read: “Pay teachers regularly for a sustainable primary education”, “Our children’s future must be secured”, “Funding of primary education should be the responsibility of the state and federal government.”
Akano said the rally was not a protest against salaries arrears but a fight for the soul of primary education in the state and the country.
He said experience had shown that the local government tier lacked the capacity to run and fund primary education effectively, particularly because that is the bedrock of education.
Olojede maintained that allowing the local governments to take charge of primary school education is a good way of sending the sector back to the woods.
He recounted that the period between 1990-1994 when local governments enjoyed full autonomy was the worst for the sector as many teachers were at the mercy of council bosses before getting their salaries and entitlements.
The union leader said should the Federal Government insist on granting autonomy to the local government, issues such as managing, funding and equipping primary schools should be transferred to the state governments.
He further suggested that payment of primary school teachers’ salaries and entitlements should be left with State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB).