More commendations came Monday for THISDAY for its initiative to honour teachers at the 18th edition of the THISDAY Awards holding in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, today.
Fifteen teachers were selected for the award. They are: Primary school teachers - Mrs. Victoria Jolayemi, Mrs. Dorothy Ugwu, Mrs. Christie Ade-Ajayi; secondary school teachers - Rev. Father Angus Fraser, Chief D.B.E. Ossai, Mr. Yakubu S. Dimka, Chief Reuben Majekodunmi, Chief Dotun Oyewole, Mr. John O.B. Adeaga, Bawa Mohammed Faskari, Hadiza Thani Mohammed; university lecturers - Prof. Iya Abubakar, Prof. Frank Ugiomoh, Prof. Michael Obadan, Prof. Eunice Nkiruka Uzodike.
Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Rufa'i, described the THISDAY Newspapers' gesture as a laudable step in efforts to improve the quality of the nation's education system.
Already, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar; former Chairman, Senate Committee on Education, Senator Joy Emodi; Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Prof. Dibu Ojerinde; and other stakeholders in the education sector have commended THISDAY Newspapers for its gesture.
The minister said in an interview in Abuja that by recognising teachers who play pivotal roles in the development of the educational system, THISDAY was playing an indirect role in contributing to the quality of teachers in the country.
According to her, with such an assessment from an impartial and independent body that culminated in the nomination of 15 teachers for the award, teachers at all levels would be motivated to put in their best efforts into their chosen profession, as they are now aware that a global brand such as THISDAY can recognise and acknowledge their efforts.
THISDAY, she said, had broken the myth that the 'teacher's reward is in heaven' as the public recognition of the efforts of anyone would do a lot to boost their spirits and motivate them to greater heights.
Rufa'i expressed appreciation to the organisers of the award for contributing their own quota to the reforms of the current administration in the education sector.
She said: "I am very appreciative of THISDAY because the organisation is making history; making history in the sense that no media house has ever remembered to dedicate a special award to teachers.
"Most especially, THISDAY is breaking the myth that the teacher's reward is in heaven, even here on earth a teacher can be recognised.
"The paper is stimulating and motivating teachers. With this award, teachers would be motivated to do more. Even those who are not winners this year would be motivated since their efforts can be recognised by THISDAY."
The minister congratulated all the beneficiaries of the award in all categories and urged them not to regard the award as the climax in their profession, but rather as a motivator to put in more efforts in improving the education sector and the country.
Rufa'i, who was a beneficiary of the THISDAY Awards in 2012, called on other corporate organisations, media houses and individuals to take time out to show appreciation to teachers, even if it is just in their immediate communities.
This, she added, was necessary as the teachers are the backbone of the society.
"These teachers are committed and what they do is providing the foundation for the improvement of the economy of the nation.
"If you improve education, you have indirectly and directly improved all other sectors, because they cannot do without the required manpower which begins with the role of the teachers.
"All the problems of quality of teachers would be history if teachers are recognised from time to time," Rufa'i added.
She reiterated the commitment of the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan to improve the welfare of teachers in order to improve the education sector.