Mr. Solomon Ayuba is the Education Secretary of Bwari Area Council in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
He insisted that since the present FCT government came on board with Mallam Mohammed Bello as the FCT Minister, he has consistently taking care of teachers' salaries and allowances in the FCT Area Councils.
See excerpts of the interview below:
How will you describe the education sector in Bwari area council?
Since I became Education Secretary in Bwari area council since four years ago, in most education competitions, Bwari has always been the best for the period of four years, from 2012 to 2015.
We are still hoping that we will be the best this year 2016. We cannot say we are trying when there is no result, I am talking because there are results and our education standard has greatly improved.
When you talk about the council's success in education, which area are you lacking?
The successes are in various disciplines, although it is obvious that we are lacking teachers in some disciplines. Most especially, we are confronted with the acute shortage of Mathematics and English teachers, and these are compulsory subject areas that the children should be well developed on.
So, we are trying to see that either by employment or replacement, we will concentrate on looking for this types of teachers, and of course, the Science teachers.
So, apart from these subjects, the standard of education in the council has improved?
Yes. Even with the shortage of teachers for these subjects, the students still perform up to standard. Only that to make it more efficient, we need more of this teachers, so that our children will be able to perform better than what is being recorded today.
How will you describe the FCT administration in respect to the education sector?
Since this government came on board with Mallam Mohammed Bello as the FCT Minister, I will commend him for even taking care of teachers' salaries and allowances. Since he became the FCT Minister, he has never owed teachers their salaries for one month; he has been prompt and committed to paying teachers’ salaries.
That is why we have seen him to be a good leader, because any leader who takes care of teachers’ salaries, means he is interested in education and the development of the society, because education is the backbone of any development. It is when teachers are fed well that they will be able to perform effectively in their classes. So, I commend the minister for his tireless efforts in paying teachers’ salaries and we know that he has a lot of plans for education in Abuja. We pray that God will guide him to accomplish those plans and he will never fail, but continue to excel in his endeavours.
Apart from prompt payment of teachers' salaries, how do you think the present administration can improve the living standard of teachers in the FCT?
We have made demands which will make more efficiency in the education sector. We have requested for accommodation for teachers, especially those at the rural areas. We have also requested for vehicles which would enable our inspectors and Quality Assurance staff to go round schools on daily basis, for them to monitor teachings in the rural areas.
We have also put in our request that more instructional materials should be supplied to our schools, so that with the materials, our teachers and students would be able to perform excellently. We also requested that good roads and clinics be open in most of our rural schools, so that teachers and students in the rural schools will not have difficulties when they are sick. We have appealed for all these things and we believe that the FCT Minister, who is a listening leader, is going to tackle them one after the other.
What is your advice to the new administration of Hon. Musa Diko, in respect to improving the education sector?
The new administration led by Hon. Musa Diko is one that is geared towards massive success, because of his determination to lead the council for a very long time. We believe that he is going to perform excellently and look into the education sector critically.
I remember that when we paid him a congratulatory message, he promised us that he is going to concentrate on Education, Agricultural and Health sectors. Especially education, because knows that education is the backbone of everything in the society.
So with this, we are confident that he will improve on this sectors which are mostly affecting the grassroots. I know him to be a man of his words and he is a man of integrity, someone that says 'yes' and means it. That is why we all should support him, in order for him to succeed in his administration and make Bwari residents proud for electing him.
What are challenges militating against the education sector in the council?
We are constraint with the adequate teaching facilities, mobility for Inspectors and other relevant things that are necessary for effective teaching and learning, like upgrading of school structures and additional buildings to decongest our classes, especially in our urban schools.
Due to the influx of people into Abuja, most of our urban schools are over populated and if we have more classes, most of our classes will be decongested for effective teaching and learning. So, this are the constraints and of course, if there is opportunity, more schools should be open to accommodate the influx of children.
What is the minimum qualification that makes a person a qualified teacher?
By national policy on education, it is certain that the minimum qualification to teach in our schools is NCE and if somebody presents NCE certificate and he is looking for teaching job, then the person is qualified to be a teacher in our schools.
How would you describe the administration of President Mohammad Buhari in terms of education?
President Muhammad Buhari is a man of integrity and well respected personality, which was why he had a landslide victory during his election. Despite the present challenges, we believe that not only on education, Buhari has come to bring back the glory of Nigeria in all sectors of the economy.
We pray for him to succeed, so that Nigerians will be proud if his government. With the types of Ministers he has in place, mostly the Minister of Education, Mr. Adamu Adamu, we are convinced that educational standard will greatly improve in Nigeria. We believe that all will be well with this government and Nigeria, and we will all see the benefit of voting for President Mohammad Buhari.