Stakeholders in the education sector have emphasised the importance of teachers and proffered solutions on how to attract the best to the teaching profession in order to enhance the nation’s growth and development.
The stakeholders made their position known at the flag-off of the 2018 Maltina Teacher-of-the-Year in Lagos on Friday. The Maltina Teacher of the Year, an initiative of Nigerian Breweries Plc-Felix Ohiwerei Education Trust Fund, was established in 2015 to identify, showcase and reward outstanding teachers in Nigeria.
In a paper to formally commence this year’s edition, the Head of Department of Educational Foundations at the University of Lagos, Professor Ngozi Osarenren explained that teachers are invaluable drivers of societal norms and the teaching profession must be respected to attract the best and the brightest.
Osarenren, a former Commissioner for Education in Edo State, noted that if Nigeria must be saved from the menace of unqualified and incompetent teachers, the nation must find career oriented teachers who want to do the job for their passion and not because it is the last option available.
She listed other factors that could attract the best hands to the profession to include professionalisation of teaching, reasonable and guaranteed salary, job security and competitive entry requirements for would-be teachers.
On his part, the Managing Director of Nigerian Breweries Plc, Mr Jordi Borrut Bel explained that in 2015, the Nigerian Breweries Plc-Felix Ohiwerei Education Trust Fund expanded its intervention in education in Nigeria to teachers through the Maltina Teacher of the Year initiative.
According to Borrut Bel, who was represented by the Company’s Corporate Affairs Adviser, Mr Kufre Ekanem, said the initiative was hinged on the realisation that teachers seldom get the recognition they deserve in spite of the pivotal role they play in determining the quality of education. He disclosed that so far, the Maltina Teacher of the Year initiative has produced 69 state champions and three overall winners.
He further disclosed that entries for the 2018 Maltina Teacher of the Year opened on Friday, May 25, 2018 and will close on July 2nd 2018. Interested teachers are advised to download application forms from the Maltina website – www.maltina-nigeria.com. Applications forms should be completed and uploaded to the website or sent by email to email@example.com or post to P.M.B. 12632, Marina, Lagos.
According to Borrut Bel, the 2018 Maltina Teacher of the Year will get N1 million, a trophy and another N1 million every year for the next five years, and a block of classrooms built at the school where he or she teaches.
The first runner-up will receive N1 million and a trophy, while the second runner-up will have N750, 000 and a trophy. In addition, each state champion, including the winner and the first and the second runners-up will get N500, 000.
Also at the flag-off, the 2017 Maltina Teacher of the Year, Mr Felix Udochukwu Ariguzo urged the government and other corporate organisations to emulate the example of Nigerian Breweries and motivate teachers so as to improve the standard of education in the country.
Other dignitaries at the flag-off included Barrister Okechkwu Okoroafor, Assistant General Secretary, Nigerian Union of Teachers, Dr. Saadatu Saidu, Permanent Secretary, Kano State Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Biola Baiyewu, Director of Establishment in the Lagos State Ministry of Education, who represented the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Nwankwo Linus, Permanent Secretary, Anambra State Ministry of Education among others.
The Maltina Teacher of the Year initiative, has since inception, produced three grand winners: Rose Nkemdilim Obi, Anambra (2015), Imoh Essien, Akwa Ibom (2016) and Felix, Ariguzo, Delta State (2017).