Before COVID-19 struck in Nigeria, teaching is one of the professions or jobs many Nigerians are doing reluctantly. This is largely due to the low remuneration and welfare package. From the public to the private schools, experiences of teachers are not quite different when the disease emerged. In this life experience documentation (LED Series One), Segun Solomon, a teacher in Osogbo, Osun state capital, chats with our analyst on why being a teacher in Nigeria seems to be a signatory to lifetime poverty.
I was trained to be an educator within the walls of a school, but I have vowed to never be a ‘teacher’ ever again in my life. I have taught in selected schools of high repute and ‘good payment scheme’ in many locales. However, it amazes me when I tell friends who are also teachers in their own locale how much I earn, and the next thing I hear them say is, “Wow! Solomon, that’s a lot, man!”. Some would even go on to say, “Hey! I knew it! You know you’re always classical in your own way. Guy, I envy you ooo.”
All of those comments are nonsense to me. They are expressions of fellows who fail to recognize their worth and values. It presses me down to earth when I hear that a graduate of Law now teaches Government or Civic Education in a Secondary School where he is being paid #30,000 per month. It sucks!
I know of a Master’s Degree holder who teaches in this nation to earn #25,000. Yet, such woman feels on top of the world amidst others. What a pitiable woman! It’s in this same nation that a man with no certificate earns his own income in multiples of #700,000 within the ambience of governance.
Tell me, how would such one ever thinks of teachers as worthy fellows for a monthly income close to his? As a matter of fact, when you elect such man into the affairs of deciding what and when teachers should be paid, he would conveniently and comfortably owe them 8 months salaries without remorse. After all, education didn’t place him there.
To private school owners, when you hear, “Proprietor”, you should know people are referring to a business man who uses other people’s brain to accumulate wealth for himself. Yes! That’s the situation in Nigeria. They’d use teachers like a roadside cream seller. No sitting. No stopping. Their own slang of motivation is, “All hands on deck.” Crazy fellows!
It saddens me and gives me a sourly vexed spirit when I see the reaction of some people each time, I tell them I am a teacher. At first sight, they’d admire and even want to hire me as a consultant for their business. Let me mention my job description as a teacher. That’s the EOD.
Some would instantly lose their respect and courtesy. Some would even show it in their gesture that they are not meant for such class. They humiliate teachers with their looks and expressions. This is the same nation where some literate uneducated parents who bought their own certificate and would spell “KUDOS” as “KUDUS” would lift their corrupt and depraved hand to hit the molder of their child’s future. What a putrid entity!
I have been young and now I am older, yet I have never seen a job-made wealthy teacher. At least, not in Nigeria. When I say ‘wealth,’ I mean wealth in its actual sense. What has this God-forsaken god-damned leaders and decision-makers done to help the situation? Absolutely nothing! What concerns them about children of the masses? Church-made Proprietors are not even excluded. Do you know what the ripple effects of this situation is in Nigeria? Go back and check the economy and productivity situation of our dear nation.
Over 90% Nigerian graduates of Mechanical Engineering cannot even fix a spoilt bicycle. If you have heard of those ones with exceptional qualities and academic excellence, look for them in Nigeria. I am sure they are no more in their fatherland.
I must stop here to avoid being too wordy. Being a teacher (in the actual sense of this context) in Nigeria is equal to signing a lifetime of poverty.