Anthony Anwukah, the Minister of State for Education, has said the deadline for teachers to acquire their professional licence is December, 2019.
Mr Anwukah made this known at a news conference to mark the 2018 World Teachers’ Day in Abuja on Thursday.
According to the minister, the licence can be obtained from the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN).
He said that attainment of a global competitive and quality education was through teachers’ adherence to professionalism.
“In order to enhance professionalism in the teaching profession, it is now required of every teacher to register and obtain a professional license from the TRCN.
“This is in tandem with international best practices as a means of updating the professionals on issues germane to their growth and development in the profession.
“Also, in line with the philosophy of the National Policy on Education, the Federal Government through the ministry of education has been setting aside annually resources to improve the education sector through budgetary.
“However, due to funding constraints arising from the dwindling national revenue and the demand of other equally important sectors, the annual capital outlay for education has not been adequate.’’
In this year’s celebration, themed ”The right to education means the right to qualified teachers” Mr Anwukah explained that funding is a major problem facing the education sector. He said it had been hindering critical needs of the sector.
Mr Anwukah said the teaching profession had been neglected by many Nigerians due partly to unattractive remuneration for teachers.
The minister of state made a reference to Malaysia where the teachers received the highest salary unlike in Nigeria where teachers were poorly paid.
He, however, said that the ministry had made efforts to curb some of the challenges by allocating funds for Teacher Professional Development (TPD) programme through Universal Basic Education Commission.
He said that a creation of Teacher Education Development Fund Account (TEDFA) had also been done to support teachers across the nation.
“For quality education, these teachers who are recruited must be properly trained and not just pushed into the teaching profession since this is where the future of Nigeria lies.
“The problem facing teachers is a global issue and not just restricted in Nigeria but other countries have been around to handle it judiciously because they have agencies coming to their rescue.
“We must not fold our hands and watch our education system crumbling; the ministry is working toward establishing a foundation to assist teachers.”
Also at the briefing was the national president of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Muhammed Idris.
In his goodwill message, he appreciated all including TRCN for the promotion of teachers welfare in the country.
Mr Idris urged the federal government to approve the extension of the retirement age of teachers to 65 years of age. He said the extension would help solve the menace in shortage of experienced teachers in Nigerian schools.
“I am prompted to urge the federal government to approve the extension of the retirement age of teachers to 65 years of age. This will go a long way to reduce teacher gap and shortage of experienced hands in our public schools.
”I have no doubt that the Federal Ministry of Education can be of great assistance in its actualisation. The Nigeria Union of Teachers also reiterates the need to reverse the national trend of retiring teachers annually without a commensurate recruitment of prospective teachers, thereby occasioning a high pupils/student-teacher ratio in the nation’s schools,” he said.
The statutory retirement age for workers in the Nigeria civil service is 60 years or 35 years of service However, the retirement age set for teachers in public primary and secondary schools is 60 years.