Teachers, students in focus as Sanwo-Olu’s anti-hardship packages unfold


As the Lagos State Government rolls out measures to help cushion the effects of hardship in the land, there are indications that the education sector is getting positive attention. There is always the need for government to do more but industry players believe the response is encouraging.

The Sanwo-Olu administration that has, for instance, been paying teachers N35,000 (secondary) and N25,000 (primary) special allowance since January has announced the increment in the grant and scholarship it offers indigene students.  Interestingly, it has also increased the primary school teachers’ monthly palliative allowance to N35,000, meaning that all the tutors now earn the same palliative allowance.

The cheery news came  recently when Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu announced the upscaling of the grant to N60,000 from N50,000; while the scholarship moved to N250,000 from N200,000.  This is part of the outcome of a parley themed ‘Students as Strategic Partners in the Governance Process: Challenges and Prospect for Youth Development’, which the governor held with stakeholders at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium, Alausa, Ikeja.

He had told the participants: “You all are the future, the future is yours to take, we’re only doing what we can to build the institution that can help shape you.   We’ll do all we can to provide a conducive environment for learning by building new additional student accommodation. We will build student arcades in other new institutions and tech hubs like we have in the Lagos State University”.

Sanwo-Olu also noted that the state would provide scholarship for physically challenged students of state-owned institutions, adding that both indigenes and non-indigenes would benefit from the scheme.

“We want to relieve parents in the face of the hard economic situation; with our collaborative effort, we will come out stronger”, the governor said.

Meanwhile, the wage award to teachers is a palliative allowance to lessen the financial burdens due to economic hardship on the state’s government workers, just like it is on many other Nigerians, pending when the national minimum wage review will be completed. The state’s Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Mr. Jamiu Alli-Balogun disclosed this during a stakeholders meeting between the officials of the ministry and the leadership of the state’s chapter of the Nigeria Union of Teachers NUT), held in his office.

According to a statement by the Head of the Public Affairs unit of the Ministry, Mr. Ganiu Lawal, the commissioner noted that Sanwo-Olu had already approved the parity in the payment.  In his remarks about the development, NUT state’s chairman, who led the executive committees to the meeting where the increment was announced, Mr. Hassan Akintoye, commended the state government and the governor in particular for the gesture. He said that the development would certainly appease the grievances of teachers at that level of education against the initial disparity.

The state Scholarship/Bursary registration is open to all indigenous students studying in tertiary institutions including Polytechnics and Colleges of Education across Nigeria. The board emphasised that such institutions must be government-recognised. Last September, Sanwo-Olu approved the payment of N375,455,000.00 for both Fresh and Subsequent Scholarship and Bursary Awards, noting the fund was to alleviate the financial burdens faced by Lagosians pursuing higher education in the country.

The Executive Secretary of the state Scholarship Board, Abdur-Rahman Lekki pointed out that the administration’s focus was to make education accessible, affordable, and sustainable, which is evident through the timely disbursement of the funds.

He also emphasised the government’s profound concern for the youth and their educational journey, and its pledge to provide accessible and affordable education, irrespective of the country’s economic challenges.

Breaking down the allocation, Lekki said N164,500,000.00 had been earmarked for the 2021/2022 Fresh Scholarship Award for Undergraduate, Masters and Ph.D (Batch B); 2021/2022 Subsequent Scholarship Award for Undergraduate and Ph.D; and 2022/2023 Subsequent Scholarship Award for Undergraduate and PhD recipients; as well as the 2022/2023 Governor’s Discretionary Awards.

He said that as part of the Sanwo-Olu administration’s T.H.E.M.E.S Plus Agenda, the state Scholarship Board was set to introduce Special Categories of Scholarships, focusing on the Poor and Vulnerable, as well as People Living With Disabilities. This aligns with the intensified emphasis on Social Inclusion, Gender Equality, and Youth in the coming four years.

No doubt, education is at the heart of the developmental agenda of the Sanwo-Olu administration.

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