Teachers in primary and secondary schools across 21 states are still earning below N30,000 over failure of state governments to implement the National minimum which president Muhammadu Buhari signed into law three years ago.
Data from the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) show that only 15 states, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have fully implemented the wage for basic school teachers. They are Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Kwara, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, and Rivers state.
On the other hand, states that are yet to implement minimum wage for teachers include; Abia, Bayelsa, Delta, Enugu, Nasarawa, Adamawa, Gombe, Niger, Borno, Sokoto, Anambra, Imo, Benue, Taraba and Zamfara state.
Others are; Kebbi, Yobe, Benue, Kogi, Cross river and Kaduna state.
The NUT revealed that Kaduna and Yobe have reverted to the N18,000 minimum of 2011 in April and November 2021 respectively, and efforts to get the state governments to implement the minimum wage for teachers have proved abortive.
The wage is being implemented partially in Cross river and Kogi state. For kogi, the government has implemented only 40 percent to teachers handling primary 1-6 and JSS 1-3, while in Abia state, secondary school teachers are paid N10,000.
While explaining progress being made by the defaulting states, the union stated that in Nasarawa state, the senior cadre teachers in secondary school are waiting for their capturing exercise before partaking in the N30,000 minimum wage.
“In Taraba State, there is no room for an interface with the state government due to the ongoing problem between the union and the state government. After the strike action declaration in Niger, the state government agreed to implement yet nothing has been done to date.
“The Sokoto government is planning on carrying out a verification exercise to determine qualified teachers as NCE holders. The NUT in Adamawa and Anambra State is negotiating with their state governments for the implementation of the minimum wage.”
The union said it has mounted pressure on most of the defaulting states yet no action has been taken and no reason given for non implementation, while other states such as Cross river, Anambra , Benue, Taraba, Adamawa, Gombe, and Zamfara are lamenting paucity of funds.
President Buhari signed the law in 2019 after years of battle with Labour unions. But, while states are still struggling to pay the N30,000 minimum wage, economy experts opine that the sum can no longer cater for even the basic needs of individuals in the present economy characterised by rising inflation.
Education experts have also consistently decried the poor quality of education delivered in basic schools which is the foundation of learning, citing poor remuneration of teachers as one of the major causes. As a consequence, basic schools have failed to attract the best brains . Experts note that people who take up teaching jobs do so because they have no other option.
At the recently held Africa Social Impact Summit, stakeholders in the education sector stressed that basic education remains the bedrock and government at all levels must prioritize, without which the quality of graduates will remain poor.