Controversy trails Adamawa teaching service retirement law

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Controversies have trailed the law passed by Adamawa House of Assembly on the retirement age for teachers in the state.

Law No. 8 of 2020 now being amended the state Teachers’ retirement years Law No. 17 of 2018 appears to restrict the application of its provision to science and English Language teachers only and to provide for matters incidental thereto.

The Law which came into operation on the 30th day of June 2020 and referred to as principal law is repealed and the following new subsection (3) substituted shall apply only to teachers teaching science subjects such as Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Computer Science, Statistics, Health Sciences, Agriculture, Home Economics, Physical and Health Education, integrated Science, Geography, English Language, Economics, Accounting and Commerce with Education Qualification, who are registered with the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria. (TRCN)

The Law signed by the Executive Governor of the state, Mr Ahmadi Umaru Fintiri on the 30th June 2020 provides that teachers from now on would have an increment of five years of their service to the state.

The Law interpreted that Adamawa state Teachers retirement age is forty years in service or one must have reached seventy years of age.

The confusion set in when the state Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development under the leadership of Mrs Wilbina Jackson, through a circular said the Law is only for Science Classroom teachers serving the state and excluded serving Principals.

Some teachers in a condition of anonymity spoke to our correspondent, stating their disagreement of the said circular emanated from the Ministry.

According to them the circular from the ministry of Education referring to the amended Law that serving Principals are excluded from the said law which increased their years of service is unacceptable and violate civil service rules as only class teachers to benefit from the five years increment.

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They blamed the commissioner to be working against the overall interest of the teachers in the state knowing fully well that she was once a Teacher and retired as one before she ventures into politics.

They said teachers grow up to be Principals, administrative office within the teaching profession. Meaning only a teacher can be a principal because it is an administrative position base on their driven profession or career.

They said that most of the current school principals as administrative as the post it is still have lesson plans as teachers and thought pupils base on their field of study.

They also opined that the Primary Schools in the state are not having their kind of controversies and why should post-primary schools have?

According to them, the law was equally enacted to have some financial benefits to all teachers, but since the Governor assented it to Law on 30th June 2020 no teacher was given a dime.

In reaction to the development, Mrs Jackson said the law is not for principals but purposefully amended for only Adamawa Classroom serving teachers.

“We are not lacking in Principals, we have enough of them, but lacking in science class teachers,” she said

She continued to say that the office of a principal is administrative and anybody can be hired to hold the position but is not anybody that can be a Science class teacher.

Jackson while shedding more light on the fact that the law was only amended to increase their years of service from thirty-five years to forty years and retired or a teacher gets to retire when he/she must have attained seventy years of age.

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She called the attention of all serving principals to know that the law has permitted them to go back to classes as teachers if they are science-oriented to enjoy the increased years of service or put in a willing resignation letter and get retired as a principal.

“This is a clear case because the Law has explicitly explained that. In this state we don’t have a problem with the principal, we only lack Teachers who are having a science background to teach in our schools.

“The government may wish to employ anyone to be a principal because it is an administrative post, but we can’t employ anyone to be a teacher,” she added.

Wilbina reiterated that the Law is only concern about science class Teachers refuted to say that it does not include any financial benefits but they are only to benefit additional years of their service.

On his part, the House Committee Chairman on Education, Patiya Wesley said the House had amended the law on Adamawa State Teachers’ retirement years for all teachers in the state.

He further said that when the law was to be amended, he remembers his committee called on relevant stakeholders to come and give their contributions to have a perfected amended law worried that only a few turned up to their invitation.

Chairman, Adamawa chapter of the Nigerian Union of Teachers, Rodney Nathan frowned at the circular of the Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development.

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While reading the amended law, Nathan said any teacher is employed as a teacher not a principal the provision of the law has clearly stated that teachers with education qualification, who are registered with the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria are to benefit of this same Law.

He condemned the single position of the Commissioner, to be standing alone on a matter that’s already settled by the house of Assembly and the executive Governor have signed, assented the Law and gazetted it to be operational since June 30th, 2020.

He expressed worries that the commissioner is not the one to even interprete the amended law because only establishment or Judiciary can give the full interpretation of the law.

“There is no basis for argument it is sentiment playing out,this Law covers everybody that’s employed as a teacher and once you are registered with TRCN you are not employed as a Principal or Vice Principal.

“Why are you saying these people should not be part of it? Are they not teachers, if she thinks the Law is ambiguous she seek for interpretation because this is a matter of establishment not ministry.” Nathan

He threatened that the union will take action to ensure the right thing is done whenever the ministry decided to do it their own way because it was the union that sought for the Law amended not even the ministry.”

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