ASUU Strike: ‘We won’t outlaw overseas education by Nigerians’
by OWEDE AGBAJILEKE, Abuja
August 16, 2017 | 5:04 pm| | | Start Conversation
Contrary to calls in some quarters, the Senate has said it would not outlaw overseas education by Nigerians.
This comes as the upper legislative chamber has urged the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to call off the indefinite strike action it embarked upon, even as it declared that some of the demands of the lecturers were captured in the 2016 supplementary budget passed by the National Assembly earlier this year.
Barau Jubril, Chairman Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND, disclosed this Wednesday in Abuja while reacting to the declaration of total strike action by the Union.
Experts in the education sector have attributed the decay in the nation’s education sector to the fact that political office holders send their children/wards for overseas education, thereby leaving the Nigerian system to rot.
But Jubril argued that no nation’s educational system can function in isolation.
According to him, since Nigeria is part of the global village, there is need for interaction with other parts of the world.
“It’s something that may not be good for our country. We know that it’s always good to mingle when it comes to the issue of education. You cannot be an island unto yourself. You remain here in Nigeria and say you wouldn’t want to interact with any other part of the world in developing your educational system. It’s not something that has been done in any part of the world. There’s that interaction which is very very necessary. Allowing other people from other parts of the world to come here, you are aware that students from Cameroon, Niger, some parts of the world do come here. We have exchange students who come from even European nations to this country. You must have that interaction. Or what you want is this: we should make sure that we develop our educational institutions to the level of those that we send our children to.
“But saying that students should not go to other countries, that is not going to be good for us. But the main thing to focus on is that those in position of authority must make sure that our educational system in this country must be developed to be at par with where they send their children to. That should be something that we should stand on, insist on and must be done,” he said.
ASUU President, Biodun Ogunyemi, decried the allocation to the education sector in the 2017 budget.
UNESCO recommends that 26 percent of national budgets be set aside for education, yet allocation to the education sector in this year’s budget is not more than 7percent.
On Monday, ASUU, an umbrella body of all university lecturers in Nigeria, declared an indefinite strike over Federal Government’s failure to fulfill the 2009/2013 Agreement made with the Union.
Among the issues in current disputes involved in the Agreement are: funding for the revitalization of public universities, earned academic allowances, registration of Nigerian universities pension management company, university staff school, fictionalisation and non-payment of salaries among others.
The Committee therefore called on the striking lecturers to reconsider their position, shelve the strike action while negotiation continues.
He declared that the Committee would henceforth monitor the negotiation between the panel set up by the Federal Government and ASUU in order to ensure amicable resolution of the dispute between the two parties.
Jibril also pointed out that some aspects of the lecturers’ allowances were captured in the 2016 supplementary budget passed by the National Assembly.
The lawmaker added: “They (lecturers) raised those issues that had to do with their allowances that were not paid and they were actually captured in the supplementary budget that we passed at that time. But for now, we don’t know because we have not sat with them so we don’t know what their grievances are.
“The Senate Committee on Tertiary Education will now begin to get involved, to monitor. It’s purely an executive affair but since the thing had gone unabated, we will need to go in and monitor to see what is happening. It has now become a matter of interest to us. We will need to be monitoring what is happening on a daily basis”.
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