â€¦Says JAMBâ€™s UMTE illegal
By Chris Ochayi, Abuja
Following the accord reached between it and the Federal Government, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) yesterday formally called off the four months old strike action.
President, ASUU, Professor Ukachukwu Awuzie who announced this at a media briefing in Abuja, however, asked the Federal Government to urgently negotiate and sign an agreement with SSANU, NASU and NAAT to enable full academic activities resume in the nationâ€™s universities. He also demanded that the government should increase the budgetary allocation to education sector from 13% in 2009 to 18% in 2010.
According to Prof. Awuzie, â€œthe National Executive Committee (NEC) of ASUU, through the Principal Officers, obtained from its negotiating team the agreement it signed with the Federal Government of Nigeria on Wednesday, October 21, 2009, resolved to suspend indefinitely, with effect from Friday October 23, 2009, the strike embarked upon by ASUU on June 22, 2009.
Awuzie who noted â€œthe agreement prescribed the UNESCO minimum of 26 per cent of the annual budget to education, by both federal and state governments. Specifically it states; â€œbeing mindful of the processes for the meeting of this goal of 26 per cent annual budgetary allocation to education as enunciated in the UNESCO benchmark, the Federal Government shall endeavor to progressively increase its budgetary allocation to the education sector in accordance with its vision 20-20-20- programme.
He therefore, alled on all students, parents, central labour organisations-NLC, TUC and civil society groups, profession associations to ensure that government fulfils this provision in the agreement. He added that, â€œin particular, since government since government announced an allocation of 13% to education in 2009, Nigerians are entitled, on the basis of governmentâ€™s agreement with ASUU, to expect higher than 13% in 2010.
â€œWe urge the public interest groups to demand from government a budgetary allocation to education sector of at least 18% in 2010.
On the uniform funding of the state and federal universities, he said; ASUU has since 1992, insisted that we should never have a multiplicity of academic standards in Nigeria.
â€œWe cannot divide universities into low and higher standard institutions in the same structure. There should be just one system with one set of minimum standard that will keep the system internationally competitive.
This is ASUUâ€™s position. This is why we have insisted that what our union has negotiated is a minimum benchmark set up in the system.