By Emmanuel Edukugho
The reports on Federal Government (FGN) Staff Unions of Federal Polytechnics (ASUP, SSANIP and NASU) 2001 Renegotiation and also the three unions of the Federal Colleges of Education have been submitted by the chairmen of the FGN Teams to the Minister of Education, Dr. Sam Ominiyi Egwu.
In his own report presented last Thursday, Sir Babatunde Olowu, Chairman, FGN Team, (Polytechnic Sector) noted that contrary to public insinuations that all the tertiary institutions in Nigeria are on strike, â€œwe want to state categorically that the Federal Polytechnics have been open for academic work.
The only union that went on strike, SSANIP has since suspended its strike action, following the approval for the implementation of CONTISS 15 in all Federal Polytechnics by Mr. President.â€
He thanked the Minister of Education, Dr. Sam Egwu for securing Mr. Presidentâ€™s approval for implementation of CONTISS 15, as this was one of the major issues raised by all the unions in the polytechnic sector.
â€œTo the best of our knowledge, we have amicably concluded the renegotations with the unions operating in Federal Polytechnics, although like Oliver Twist, they still want some more. The real issues of the Re-negotiation have been settled and what remains outstanding as far as the committee is concerned are purely administrative in nature to be taken at the Governing Council level of the various polytechnics.â€
Olowu stated that the Renegotiation Committee has been able to independently verify that â€œthere is substantial increase of the level of Capital Funding to the Federal Polytechnics proposed in the 2010 budget.â€
He expressed gratitude to the Minister of Education for this effort and for making Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) a major plank of the Road Map for the Nigerian Education sector.
The Chairman placed on record, the quality of the leadership of the various unions that participated in the renegotiation exercise.
â€œWe thank them for their maturity and negotiating skills throughout the entire period. In fact, they are ambassadors of conflict resolution per excellenceâ€, he lauded.
For the Colleges of Education, the Chairman FGN/Unions, Alhaji Safiyanu Allah-Kayi, who presented his report to the Minister of Education, said that the Federal Government has done well in view of the competing demands for the available resources.
That though the unions in the Federal Colleges of Education did not demand for autonomy, the extension of autonomy granted to the Federal Colleges of Education is a welcome development.
â€œIt is a step in the right direction. Governing councils will now be made more responsive and responsible. We therefore agree with the Federal Government that these Draft Agreements should be signed at individual governing councilâ€™s levels.â€
Other views and recommendations contained in the report are: That the committee of chairmen of Federal Colleges of Education should be strengthened to take up issues that are of common interest to all Federal Colleges of Education rather than discussing with the Federal Government henceforth.
The Education Trust Fund (ETF) intervention role should be reformed to make it more pragmatic and encompassing the way Petroleum Development Trust Fund (PDTF) is currently doing in the petroleum sector.
ETF should intervene not only in infrastructural developments directly, but should expand into areas of Capacity Buildings for the staff of both the Federal Colleges of Education and the National Colleges of Education and the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) which also needs institutional and capacity strengthening in order to be effective in its over-sight functions.
Particular attention be given to Colleges of Education because of their roles in professional teaching and foundational education.
That a situation where you have pool of funds un-accessed yearly in ETF in the face of the current decay in frastructures and low capacities in Federal Colleges of Education should be looked into. Commending the three (3) unions of the Federal Colleges of Education for their maturity and understanding throughout the period of the FGN Team interactions with them.
Allah – Kayi noted that, â€œthey (unions) did not join their colleagues in the strike action. They should be commended by the Honourable Minister.â€
His appreciations went to the Minister of Education for giving his team the opportunity to serve the country and the support enjoyed from the Directorate of Tertiary Education in the Ministry. The Executive Secretary of NCCE for the logistic support and encouragement given during the course of negotiation.