“We are ready to resume as soon as the conditions for reopening schools are met. We have also advised the government to use the opportunity of the lockdown to address the challenges in the education sector.”
The Academic Staff Union of Universities has urged the federal government to utilize the lockdown period initiated as a result of the global covid-19 scourge and address various pressing issues in the academic sector. The Union had within the week assured the readiness of university teachers to resume classes and other activities if government fulfils all necessary reopening conditions.
Prof Ogunyemi cautioned against devastating consequences of schools’ reopening void of practicable Covid-19 prevention guidelines considering a lot of factors which may not promote social distancing on campuses.
However, the union did not loose sight of its expectations as spelt in the memorandum of agreement between the Federal government and its members, maintaining that various underlying issues still awaits Federal Governments due response.
According to Prof Ogunyemi, issues of interest in the MoA includes strengthening the consultative committee on state-owned universities on responsibilities of proliferation, underfunding and governance so as to have its mandate delivered on a regular basis, availability of printed guidelines on approaches and roles of parties in the FGN/ASUU 2009 renegotiating process agreement, N1.3trillion funding for the revitalization of universities, payment of Earned Academic allowances as well as commencement of visitation to all federal universities.
Speaking on the proliferation of schools, the union leaders’ statement was that of dissatisfaction, blaming the federal and state governments for what he referred to as needless establishments, adding that this does not mean well on the quality of education.
In his words, “State governments have turned the establishment of universities to constituency projects; every governor wants to have a university in his constituency. This is really sad and if we are not careful, university education will collapse like the public primary schools in the country. So, what ASUU is really fighting for is to stop the total collapse. Our demands are not selfishly motivated,”