NUT strike: Parents worry over incessant closure of FCT schools

Parents have condemned the  incessant strike by the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) primary school teachers, calling on the Federal Government to wade into the situation.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that primary school teachers in the FCT on Wednesday, again embarked on an indefinite strike over failure of the area council chairmen to reach agreements with them.

The teachers had in December embarked on an indefinite strike, which was suspended after a week, following an emergency meeting of the State Wing Executive Council.

The teachers were aggrieved over the area councils’ chairmen failure to abide by the agreement for the payment of the backlogs of the Local Education Authority (LEA) teachers outstanding entitlement in their various councils.

The State Chairman of the FCT Wing of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Mr Stephen Knabayi, claimed that they were being owed about N14.3 billion arrears from 2015 till date.

A teacher in one of the schools, who pleaded anonymity expressed disappointed that such was happening but urged the government to intervene so they could go back to work.

She said that failure to honour the agreement with the teachers by the council chairmen necessitated unanimous resolution that the teachers should go on strike with effect from Jan. 26,  till further notice.

Mrs  Olusola Omoniyi, a mother of three, expressed worry over the manner the pupils were seen loitering the streets of Abuja because they were asked to go home owing to the non-payment of the teachers’ salary.

Another parent, Mr Godswill Nwosu, said that leaving the children to be at home when their colleagues in other schools were receiving lessons “is not a good idea”.

He called on the government to help resolve the conflicts between the union and area council chairmen.

Nwosu, however, urged parents to engage their children and wards at home so as to make good use of this period by learning a skill.

Another parent, Mrs Jane Nwachukwu, urged the Federal Government to review its decision on allowing the management of primary schools’ education to be controlled by the local council areas.

“Experience has shown that the local governments do not have financial capacity or the political will to fund and manage primary schools, hence the situation we are having now.

“And I fear that this could amount to total collapse of the system,” she said.

According to her, primary education is the foundation of all learning and should not be managed by the Local Education Authorities (LEA) in the area councils.

“Come to think of it, how much does the local government area get as its allocation to take care of all the teachers’ demands and settle the outstanding entitlements of the teachers?

“It is very unfortunate that those who are beneficiaries of teachers’ sacrifices are the ones making things very difficult teachers.

“In fact,  the way teachers are being treated, especially the public primary school teachers is very bad. I wonder how many children of decision makers are in public schools,” she said.

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