By Grace Udofia
The Federal Government of Nigeria has decried the mass exodus of teachers from the teaching profession to other financially attractive jobs.
Speaking during his visit to a privately organized Teachers Naija Reality Television Show, Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, described the few number of people participating on the show as testament of teachers’ disenchantment for the profession.
He said the number of housemates on the show, though small, still represented the divergent interest in the teaching profession.
He explained that the government has rolled out several policies to make the teaching profession attractive, including a mass housing scheme promised by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The plan for mass housing is still on, I am still pushing with all the state governors, we have written them, myself and NUT, we have gotten responses from Niger, we have got responses in Cross River,” he said.
Nwajiuba also described teaching as the base of human development, while commending the organisers of the show, which according to him would attract more people to the teaching profession.
Nwajiuba said, “This very minimum in terms of the percentage, when you look at the nearly 2.2 million teachers in Nigeria.
“This is a really small representation of the variety of teachers we have but we think if we can encourage these persons to make the teaching profession look good, it will help us to attract better persons because we are also hemorrhaging teachers.
“We are losing teachers because as soon as they get an opportunity, they tend to take off and we want teachers to stay, because we are all products of teachers.
“I have often told teachers repeatedly that the teachers’ reward is in heaven. What is here is their wages. There is a difference between wages and rewards.
“People miss up wages with reward. Teachers must be paid here in wages but teaching is not actually a profession, it is an impaction, a teacher is not limited to only the person in the classroom, a mother who takes you from sucking, and weaned you, take you to a diaper change, you can quantify that and no wages for that”.
In his remarks, the convener of the show, Enuagwuna Ubaka, expressed delight over the encouragement and feedback being received on the programme, both at home and abroad, even as he called for more support and sponsorship to attract more Nigerians.
The reality show is a private initiative, its first season was in 2019 where the winner, first and second runner-up went home with N1.5 million, N1 million, and N500,000 respectively.
In this year’s season, the winner is expected to get a 2-bedroom flat in Abuja and go home with N2 million, while the first and the second runner up will get N1.5 million and N1 million respectively.