By Dayo Adesulu
Minister of State for Education, Professor Anthony Anwuka has confirmed that there is an ongoing meeting between the Federal Ministry of Education and the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, adding that the government is doing everything possible to end the strike.
Anwuka who was cornered by Vanguard yesterday (Thursday) during Lafarge Literacy National competition in Lagos said:”We are doing everything possible to ensure that ASUU calls off their strike.”
Asked when ASUU may likely return to the classrooms, he said: “I don’t know, but we are discussing with them.”
ASUU had twelve days ago at the Federal University of Technology Akure, FUTA, Ondo State declared indefinite strike over the Federal Government refusal to honour its 2009 agreements it freely entered with the Union.
Besides, the N1.1 trillion expected from the Federal Government to fund education in Nigerian public universities, ASUU is equally asking for the government to address some lingering issues in the University of Ilorin, Lagos State University and Kwara State University, among others.
Meanwhile, the Minister while presenting his speech during the 5th Lafarge National Literacy Competition, said that literacy improves the future of everyone in society, adding, “it’s critical to individual, community and national economic development.”
The Minister who commended Lafarge Africa for taking literacy to the grassroots and also giving children from the rural areas the opportunity to compete with their colleagues and age mates from the urban areas, said it would sharpen their skills and improve self confidence, which is essential to their development and future prospects.
He said : “It is note worthy that the competition has run for five years across Nigeria with a wider impact and reach every year, working with the SUBEBS, UBEC and Federal Ministry of Education at State and senatorial district levels across Nigeria.
” Federal Government is making several efforts to improve literacy across board in Nigeria. Some of such initiatives include development of school facilities across the country and the national home grown school feeding programme.
“Through these programmes, the government has been able to play its role in increasing school enrolment and completion as the dropout rate of primary school students is about 30 per cent and has been known to be a major root of illiteracy.
“The Federal Ministry of education is happy to endorse and work with Lafarge on this journey to enhance literacy development in public primary school pupils as well as reduce illiteracy in Nigeria.”
Anwukah said that government also recognises the need for partnerships and collaborations with stakeholders in key sectors, especially the private sector in the country.
The event was supported by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) British Council, Oando Foundation, Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), a parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Education in charge of Basic Education across the country.
On his part, Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka said that the nation must double her effort to ensure literacy is not thrown away. He urged teachers to ensure that students are not corrupted with what they read in media.
According to him, I am afraid of the level of literacy in this nation. There are errors in the use of Language and tenses both in English and local languages.
He therefore urged organisations to organise programmes for media to aid their literacy level..