By Kolade Larewaju
SPEAKER of House of Representatives, Mr. Dimeji Bankole weekend appealed the striking members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to return to the classrooms in the interest of the country and their students.
Mr. Bankole who spoke in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital during the turning of the sod of an Administrative block, Female and Male hostels at the University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (UNAAB) he and his friends donated to the institution said that it is very important that the lecturers return to work quickly.
He said â€œmy brief remarks would be incomplete if I do not appeal to our striking university lecturers to heed the call, urging them to call-off the nationwide strike.
â€œReversing the negative fortunes in our educational sector is the responsibility of all. Government has shifted ground on virtually all the issues in contentionâ€.
He urged ASUU to reciprocate the gesture â€œeven if for the benefit of our long-suffering children who have been idle at home since the strike commencedâ€.
Bankole also lamented that Nigeriaâ€™s educational delivery systems had over the years degenerated to such levels that have led to a reversal of fortunes, not only for the Nigeria child, but also for the larger Nigerian nation.
He identified inadequate funding, dilapidated infrastructure, poor curriculum, out-dated stock of library books, ill-equipped laboratories, poor management of resources; examination malpractices, incessant strikes and cultism as some of the problems that militate against the education sector.
â€œThere is the need for a total turn-around of the education sector in the spirit and letters of current government reformsâ€.
A critical way of achieving this he said is through priority budgeting and proper funding, adding that of the eight Millennium Development Goals, (MDGs), education would remain the most critical, essentially because it is fundamental to the attainment of other developmental goals.
â€œI have enjoined the Committee not to shy away from proposing any forms of new legislation, revision or amendment that would propel our education sector to the next levelâ€.
Their oversight functions which he said would include the constant monitoring and assessment of public expenditure in the education sector, the House Committee he said would also ensure that intervention agencies meet their set targets and realize the objectives for which they were set up.