Lecturers demonstrating in southeast Nigeria against the cuts in higher education. The Academic Staff Union of Universities (AASU) has been striking in the region since July 2010., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Govt, ASUU end talks, may suspend strike .
Wednesday, 25 January 2012 00:00 From Kamal Tayo Oropo (Lagos) Uzoma Nzeagwu, (Awka) and Karls Tsokar, (Abuja) News
Fashola, Obi urge quality education
THERE were strong indications yesterday that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU ) may soon end its strike as the Union had held talks with the Federal Government over the trade dispute.
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, has decried what he called the poor content quality of the nation’s educational system, saying the lapses were a threat to the country’s aspiration for development.
In the same vein, Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State has said that qualitative education was critical in equipping children properly to become productive citizens.
The ASUU’s National President, Prof. Awuzie Ukachukwu, while speaking to journalists in Abuja yesterday at the end of the negotiations with the Federal Government said “we have discussed, we have looked at the issues, and government has made its offer and I will have to take it to my principal.”
“They have laid their cards on the table, they have done their best within what they believe is available by government, we are all Nigerians, we did not go on the strike to destroy the system. They have told us why they took certain decisions, we are going to take it to our principal and I want to assure you that I will take it to my principal soonest”, he added.
The Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufa’i who spoke on behalf of the Federal Government delegation said, Nigerian students should pray for the strike to be called off since there was hope in sight.
“The students should pray for us at home. We have just concluded our discussions with them, the series of meeting we have had. As soon as they finish their meeting, the will let us know. We are very hopeful, we cannot say they are calling off or not, but that will depend on the decision of the NEC. Because it is only after the meeting that we will know”.
While refusing to also disclose the content of the Federal Government’s package to the striking lecturers, Prof. Rufa’i said the implementation of the demands by ASUU could not be itemised in the circumstances, but that the Federal Government had made useful offers that the academic body would consider and call off the strike.
Speaking at this year’s Lagos State Ministry of Education Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Awards in Ikeja, Fashola said the current system lacked the ingredients of functional education to power Nigeria’s development.
He said obsolete curriculum, poor infrastructure, poor teachers’ training among other challenges had only ensured that the system produced so many literate people with little knowledge.
Fashola added that the lapses had also worsened the unemployment rate in the country, stating it had made most graduates from tertiary institutions in the country unemployable.
He said all must be ready, urging all stakeholders to get involved in the development of public education and help find a lasting solution to the problem.
Obi who stated this yesterday, while inspecting on-going building projects at the Police Children School, Central Police Station Awka, added that good schools were important to nurture quality human infrastructure needed for nation-building.
He assured that the state government would support the building project.