by AljazirahNews | November 16, 2021 10:55 am
In a fresh jolt, the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has announced it would embark on another round of industrial action following the government’s lack of transparency in the implementation of the Memorandum of Action ,MoA, it signed with the union leading to the suspension of its last strike.
National President of ASUU, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, who stated this after its National Executive Council ,NEC, meeting at the University of Abuja on November,13 and 14, 2021, said the government should be held liable should it fail to address the issues within three weeks.
The union lamented that despite its meeting with the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige on October 14, 2021, on the major outstanding issues including funding for revitalisation of public universities, earned academic allowances, University Transparency Accountability Solution ,UTAS, promotion arrears, renegotiation of 2009 ASUU-FGN agreement, and the inconsistencies in IPPIS payment, the issues are not yet addressed.
Osodeke said, “ASUU is fully committed to upholding academic integrity in our universities and working to make them more globally competitive. We are equally committed to promoting industrial harmony in the Nigerian University System for as long as all stakeholders are willing and committed to play their parts.
“We call on all Vice-Chancellors, as the main drivers of the system, to join us in this mission to safeguard the waning image of our universities. They have no business trading honorary degrees and academic positions for personal and immediate gains; thereby smearing the collective integrity of committed scholars and other patriots who are working day and night to uplift the system that produced them.
“Our union shall not shy away from taking the fight to administrators of Nigerian universities as well as internal and external agents who are and external agents who are bent on compromising the standard ASUU has consistently laboured to protect and improve.
With the foregoing position of the ASUU leadership as summarised by its leader, the die is cast and barring any last ditch efforts to save the situation, the nation’s universities would soon be deserted with academic activities truncated.
It would not be difficult for chroniclers of the nation’s contemporary educational system to put together the record of disruption of the university system across the country.
It is established that only private institutions have been isolated from these tradition of strikes that have become acceptable norm in our universities.
While many have argued that some of these strikes were avoidable, it is obvious that the stakeholders had not been forthcoming enough in their responses to stem the tide of these disruptions to the system.
There have been cries that the government, often represented at the highest hierarchy in the Labour and Education ministries in negotiations with ASUU have often not shown the needed commitment to what they often accede to. That further highlights the concern in certain quarters that their lackadaisical response is just so because as other elites their wards are either schooling outside our shores or in the best of private universities. It is therefore of no import to them what happens at that level of tertiary education.
We are deeply concerned that the repeated disruption in the system has punctuated and indeed elongated the graduation timelines for many students. Those scenarios have taken a toll on both the students and parents whose financial plans are often thwarted each time a strike takes place.
The authorities should see the public university system as part of our national life and indeed a leeway to development. They should realise that unlike the private university system, if well nurtured it would produce great individuals who can stand tall anywhere around the globe. It should be noted that before the rabid introduction of private universities whose costs are often exorbitant, the public universities held the ace and were the toast of most Nigerians. We must return that old glory to our universities. The government must do the needful by engaging the issues being raised by ASUU, if indeed they were part of a sealed pact.
We also urge ASUU to be realistic in their demands so as to soften the grounds for further rapprochement in order to avert the strike. That would be in the interest of the system which lost so much of its past glory.
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