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Part 1: How Nigerian teachers can thrive, not just survive

Bossom Private School Teacher, Lagos, Nigeria.
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For most Nigerian teachers, the reality bites harder than a poorly photocopied textbook. Low salaries, inconsistent payments, and a chronic lack of support paint a bleak picture of financial hardship for teachers in Nigeria. Yet, even within this dilemma of naira woes, the echoes of teachers’ resilience reverberate.

Nigerian teachers, armed with resourcefulness and fueled by community spirit, are not simply surviving; they are actively breaking the bank of naira and carving a path towards financial freedom.

The first brick in this wall of self-reliance is budgeting with brutal honesty. Gone are the days of impulse purchases and carefree spending. Every naira must be scrutinized, prioritized, and meticulously tracked.

Read also: 5 trends reshaping the classroom in 2024

Meal plans replace restaurant cravings, DIY hacks trump quick fixes, and second-hand finds become badges of financial savvy. The level of financial literacy among teachers is on the increase with seminars here and there on how teachers can make more money online through remote and online teaching opportunities any teacher not current will be left behind behind in the scheme of things.

Educational blogs social media platforms and online communities like “Edugist” offer vital tips and inspiration, reminding educators that living well need not equate to lavish spending.

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Lagos Teacher teaching at a Tutorial Center In Mushin

But salary alone, however carefully stretched, cannot always bridge the economic chasm. This is where resourcefulness takes centre stage. Private tutoring sessions in the evenings, online teaching platforms like Udemy, Superprof,and freelance writing gigs become alternative income streams, each naira a drop filling the financial bucket. Adewunmi Adedoyin, a Lagos-based teacher, turned her passion for baking into a lucrative side hustle, selling homemade treats to parents and colleagues. Her story, echoed by countless others, underscores the power of turning skills into naira-generating ventures.

Beyond individual efforts, the community becomes the bedrock of financial empowerment. Savings groups, locally christened “Ajo,” (Thrift) pool resources, create a safety net and foster financial discipline.

Teachers like Chioma Eze, who spearheads such groups in Enugu, emphasise the power of collective action. Chioma’s group, aptly named “Naira Avengers,” has helped members build emergency funds, fund small businesses, and navigate unexpected financial hurdles. The message is clear: together, the naira burden becomes lighter, and the path to stability becomes smoother.

Technology, too, becomes a crucial ally. Mobile banking platforms like Paga and Alat allow for efficient money management, reducing reliance on brick-and-mortar banks. Online investment platforms like Piggyvest and Cowrywise make saving and investing accessible, paving the way for long-term financial security.

Esther Ajayi, a teacher in Abuja, credits Cowrywise with helping her invest in mutual funds, a move that has significantly bolstered her retirement savings. These digital tools empower teachers to take control of their finances, breaking free from the shackles of financial illiteracy.

However, the fight for financial stability is not solely an individual or communal responsibility. Policymakers and educational institutions must play their part. Advocating for fairer salaries, ensuring timely payments, and providing access to financial literacy training are crucial steps towards empowering teachers. The Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) and the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN) have a vital role to play in lobbying for better financial conditions and equipping educators with the tools to manage their resources effectively.

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Bossom Private School Teacher, Lagos, Nigeria.

Breaking the bank of naira is not about amassing riches; it’s about securing the freedom to focus on what truly matters—educating the next generation. When teachers are financially secure, they are less stressed, more motivated, and better equipped to nurture young minds. The ripple effect is undeniable: a financially empowered teaching force translates to a brighter future for Nigerian education and, ultimately, the nation itself.

So, let the clarion call ring out: Nigerian teachers, you are not merely wage earners; you are financial architects. With resourcefulness as your mortar and community as your steel, you can build a future where naira anxieties crumble and the true worth of educators—measured not in paychecks but in the impact they make—takes centre stage. Break the bank, not your spirit.


Read also: Tragedy struck as 2 teachers, 12 students die in boat accident

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