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THE PROSPECT AND CHALLENGES IN THE PROVISION OF RETIREMENT EDUCATION TO CIVIL SERVANTS IN NIGERIA
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Retirement is a phase of life that every employee must reach whether prepared for or not. It is the point in time when an employee chooses to leave his or her employment permanently (which could be voluntary or involuntary), and generally coincides with the employee’s eligibility to collect retirement resources ranging from social security to company pensions, etc. It is an inevitable stage in someone’s life be it in the private or public service, it is a period in time whereby one’s effort in an organization and role as a paid worker ceases, (Agoro, 2009; Ahmed, 2007; Bassey & Asinya, 2008).
Retirement is an age long practice in both the private and public service (Osuala, 1985). He stressed that it is a major stage in adult development and it essentially marks the split from middle years to old age. He further noted that at 65 years of age, our mental and physical exuberance dwindles; it however becomes rationale to relieve the person of some strenuous and excruciating duties that may weigh him down and consequently threaten his health. This, therefore, results to the retirement age of 65 in developed and economically buoyant countries. But in Nigeria, due to economic crunch and high rate of unemployment, the minimum legal age for mandatory retirement was put at 55 until recently when the Federal Government of Nigeria pegged it to 60 years.
Retirement as defined by Atchley (1977) is the act of retiring or the state of being retired. That is to withdraw oneself from business public life or and to remove from active service. Thus, the process of retirement involves the transition of people’s experience, when they move from a job role performed for pay to the role of retired person. The role of a counsellor is not complete until an individual is able to realize himself and the realities of the world around him and also maximize his potentials in order to cope with life demands. Counseling for the retirees is becoming very necessary in view of the various problems they are facing.
In most developing countries with Nigeria particularly, government restrict working age of public civil servants to prevent an ageing labour force and allowing entrants of young able-bodied labour for increasing efficiency and productivity, (Federal Republic of Nigeria Official Gazette, 2004). This is important because as an employee becomes older, his Marginal Physical Productivity of Labour (MPPL) will decline, thus retaining such an employee in the service of the organization will lead to running an organization at a loss. Hence, why the statutory working age in the public service is fixed at sixty (60) years or thirty-five (35) years of unbroken active working service before retirement, but the Retirement Age Harmonization Act of 2012 stamps the retirement age of judicial officers and academic staff of tertiary institutions at 70 and 65years respectively because of the belief that “the older, the wiser” (Maji, 2014).
During retirement, a retiree public officerusually receives certain benefits in the form of gratuity and pension. Gratuity is the sum total lump paid to a worker on existing from the service either through withdrawal or retirement, while pension is the sum of annuity paid periodically, usually monthly to a public servant who disengages from service after attaining a specified age limit usually 60 years or 35 years of active service, (Ezeani, 2001; Ebosele, 2001). In other words, gratuity and pension are post-employment benefits. These benefits are designed to prevent a sudden sharp drop in the financial capacity and living standard of the worker as would happen with the stoppage of his monthly salary and allowances after disengagement. The lump sum or gratuity he is paid is meant to enable the retiree finance any post-retirement endeavour of his choice while the pension replaces the monthly salary the retiree gets while he was still in active serve, (Babasola, 2000).
In this way, the retiree having spent a substantial part of his productive life working to earn a living, can in his old age (that is, at retirement) sustain and maintain a standard of living comparable to what he was used to while in active service. It is based on this that most progressive government enact laws to back up their policies on employment, retirement and pension in both the public and private sectors of the economy. To Casey (2011) and Taiwo (2014), pensions as a form of social security against old-age poverty and other uncertainties have attracted great interest virtually everywhere in the world, both in developed, developing and under-developed countries. Pension programmes, especially those that are publicly financed and administered, have become an issue of concern to economists, policymakers and the general public. This is not only because such programmes are central to the well-being of pensioners and the elderly, but also because the majority of pension programmes are not actuarially balanced (that is they are not financially stable) and as such, they are run at deficits, thus making the present values of their future liabilities to be enormous. In some countries, especially those that are economically advanced, pensions are usually extended to other categories of people apart from retirees, such as widows, orphans, disabled people (in the form of disability pensions), and the elderly or the aged. Therefore, this study focuses on the prospect and challenges in the provision of retirement education to civil servants in Nigeria.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Retirement has its own pros and cons for retirees the world over; and Nigerian retirees may not be an exception. Retirees in Nigeria, thus, have their share of both divides of retirement. On the one hand, retirement exposes retirees to a sharp reduction in income (Olatomide & Akomolafe, 2012; Ng, Tay, Tan, & Lim, 2011; Olatomide, 2010; Okpede, 1998; Walker, Kimmel, & Price, 1981). This reduction in income may be aggravated by delay in payment of retirement benefits like pension and gratuity (Bukoye, 2005; Akinade, 1993), or by inflationary trends (Ng, et al., 2011; Wolcott, 1998; Australian Bureau of Statistics, 1995). Significantly, retirees who still sponsor their children’s education at retirement usually face a lot of financial problem as well. Inadequate income by itself is strongly associated with stress in retirement (Sharpley, Gordon, & Jacobs, 1996; Commonwealth Department of Social Security, 1992). More often than not, some retirees who do not own their own houses but stay in rented apartments, which they must vacate at retirement, are either exposed to societal ridicule or encounter financial difficulties in payment of house rent, while many retirees do not often have the required capital to start-up income-yielding businesses in retirement (Etadon & Jimoh, 2012; Aigbekaen, 2008; Onyemowo, 2006; Orhungur, 2005; Arogbofa, 1997; Akinade, 1993). Yet, in a country like Nigeria that has a high rate of unemployment among the youths, it becomes a compounded problem to find paid jobs for the retirees. Similarly, at retirement, retirees usually have difficulties in cutting down already-formed pattern of spending while in service (Olatomide, 2010). Also, how to budget for time and use time wisely, worries about what to do in order to continue to earn the respect of immediate family members in retirement as when in service, difficulties arising from reduction in social network due to loss of contact with office friends, workmates, and clients at retirement; including the society’s negative perception of the retirees as people who have wasted their opportunities while they were young – are some other challenges facing retirees in retirement (Olatomide & Akomolafe, 2012). These problems make it glaring that there is a need to carry out a study on the prospect and challenges in the provision of retirement education to civil servants in Nigeria.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The general objective of this study is to examine the prospect and challenges in the provision of retirement education to civil servants in Nigeria, a case of public school teachers in Ota LGA of Ogun State. The specific objectives of this study include the following:
1. To ascertain if retirement education is done for public school teachers in Ota LGA of Ogun State.
2. To find the perception of public school teachers in Ota LGA of Ogun State on retirement education.
3. To examine the knowledge of public school teachers in Ota LGA of Ogun State on the challenges facing the provision of retirement education.
4. To ascertain the knowledge of public school teachers in Ota LGA of Ogun State on the prospect of retirement education on their socioeconomic status after retirement.
5. To investigate the role of government on the provision of retirement education to public school teachers in Ota LGA of Ogun State.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The relevant research questions related to this include the following:
1. Is retirement education done for public school teachers in Ota LGA of Ogun State?
2. What is the perception of public school teachers in Ota LGA of Ogun State on retirement education?
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