Mr Obong Obong, Secretary-General, Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), says that the responsibility of managing primary education remains with the state governments.
Obong, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja, said that the constitution was clear on which level of government should manage primary education.
“The confusion we have is that people believe that primary education is supposed to be managed by the local governments but that is not true.
“The constitution says local governments shall only participate with the state governments; and the Supreme Court in its judgment interpreting the fourth schedule of the constitution, says that the responsibility remains with the state.
“In other words, it is the state government that has the responsibility to run and manage primary education while the local government can only assist in one thing or the other,’’ he said.
According to him, it has been a major problem as the passing of bucks affects recruitment of teachers to schools and infrastructural development of primary schools.
He said that the argument that education was on the concurrent list had become an excuse to neglect primary education.
“They keep passing the buck by saying that education is on concurrent list; so that that when there is a problem with primary education, you do not know who to approach, the government should sort these issues out,’’ he said.
On teachers’ remuneration, Obong said that teaching was a profession; therefore, there should be a harmonised salary structure for teachers across the states.
He condemned the disparity in salaries paid to teachers across the states as teachers on the same grade level received different salaries.
“We still believe that there is need for us to have a uniformed salary structure for all teachers and it must be enhanced.
“If the salary is enhanced, you will ultimately capture the best brains; people will want to go and read education because they know what is there,’’ he said.
The secretary-general also called for the enhancement of requirements for entering for teachers’ training institutions to boost the integrity of the profession.
He said that when people realised that it was not easy to become a teacher, teachers would be better regarded in the society.