The Minister of State for Education, Mr Emeka Nwajiuba, has said striking university workers including the Academic Staff Union of Universities, the Joint Action Committee of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Education and Associated Institutions are mean and wicked for shutting down universities across the country.
This is just as the ASUU’s strike enters its 50th day on Tuesday (today).
The unions are currently on strike over failure by the Federal Government to honour the various agreements reached with them.
Nwajiuba, in an interview with one of our correspondents, said it was an act of wickedness for the unions to go on strike for entitlements that the government would still give them.
The minister said, “We are negotiating with the Polytechnics and Colleges of Education and the same thing ASUU is asking for is the same thing they are asking for but they are willing to continue working.
“The only place we have a suspension of work is the ASUU, SSANU and NASU on account of things they believe are owed them. We believe every union is entitled to make these requests. The government has agreed with them. Government is only releasing money as they have it.
“The renegotiation committee has always been constituted; the only departure is in the willingness of ASUU, SSANU and NASU to continue working while the same entitlements are on.
“The others have same demands but are willing to continue working while they get their entitlements. We have consistently said if you disrupt academic programmes because of one entitlement you are supposed to get, you will eventually get the entitlement but our children would have lost the time they are supposed to learn, you are just being mean. There is no point disrupting everybody’s life, those people can’t regain their lives but you can regain yours, because you haven’t gotten it everybody else must lose something.
“The strike has not produced the money they are asking for, if the money was there they would have been paid the day they started the strike.
“Government has heard them, they are not wrong but the same way government has said they will get the money, for every strike they have embarked on they still get their money but human beings have lost times.
They are not only being wicked to the government but they are wicked to the human beings that constitute Nigeria.”
In his reaction, the National President, ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, wondered why the Federal Government had refused to meet the union’s demand.
“I will not honour people like Nwajiuba with my response. If the government wants the children of the ordinary Nigerian people to have good education like their children who are schooling abroad, they would have resolved the problem within one week.
“Ask Nwajiuba why the Ministry of Education has refused to meet with the ASUU?”
Also, ASUU chairman, University of Lagos, Dr Dele Ashiru, described Nwajiuba’s statement as callous and provocative.
“This is the kind of reaction you get from those who became ministers of the Federal Republic based on quota system. If the minister knows that ASUU would eventually get what it wants why wait until the system is shut down?
“Is it sane for the conditions of service of a worker to remain the same in the last 12 years? The remark by the minister is therefore, to say the least, provocative, callous and insensate.
“As for ASUP and COEASU, if they are comfortable with empty promises from an insensitive ruining elite, good for them.”
Osodeke had earlier told The PUNCH that despite the strike entering its 50th day, the government had not done anything new.
“They have not done anything new, there is no new update as we speak. However, one thing is certain and that is the fact that our ultimatum still stands. The extension of the warning strike will elapse by May 14 after which the NEC will meet on the decision to take,” he said.
Meanwhile, the 2022 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination/Direct Entry examinations are set to commence on May 6, 2022 amidst the ongoing strike.
On the impact of the strike on the 2022 admission process, the spokesperson for the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board, Fabian Benjamin, said, “It is not the duty of the board to meddle into admissions of institutions. We conduct the examinations and the schools conduct the admissions. However, the strike will have an impact on everything. Even the person who is on strike is feeling the impact.”
FG Introduces menial studies, others to varsity curriculum
“The Benchmark Minimum Academic Standards has been revised to Core Curriculum and Minimum Academic Standards.
“The CCMAS, provides 70 percent of what should be taught along with the expected outcome, while the university will provide 30 per cent based on their individual contextual peculiarities and characteristics.”
The National Universities Commission yesterday unveiled a new Core Curriculum and Minimum Academic Standards (CCMAS) with 17 disciplines and 238 academic programmes to replace the Benchmark Minimum Academic Standard (BMAS) used in Nigerian universities.
The Federal Government also approved three new courses in the university system, namely Allied Health Sciences, Architecture and Communication, and Menial studies.
Speaking on the CCMAS at NUC celebration of 60 years of regulating university education in Nigeria, NUC Executive Secretary, Prof. Peter Okebukola, said the new curriculum addressed the knowledge and skill gaps as it was replacing in comparable in contents to similar curriculum in the best university system in the world and relevant to Nigeria’s social cultural context.
He said while the CCMAS provided 70 per cent of core curriculum as minimum for all Nigerian universities, it allowed universities to customize the curriculum by adding 30 percent of courses to reflect their uniqueness, missions and peculiarities.
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“It places assent on 100 percent entrepreneurship, practical rather than theoretical knowledge and skills and the development of the 21st century skills in line with contemporary global best practice, a change of nomenclature has happened from BMAS to CCMAS,” he said.
He said the new curriculum was to stimulate greater learning in its delivery and strategically configured to produce future fit graduates, provide essential foundation for lifelong learning, nurture deep thinkers and problem solvers and graduates highly skilled in their professions and disciplines and encourage interdependencies of disciplines.
He said over 16,000 participants were involved in the development of the curriculum.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said the core curriculum had taken cognizance of the need to provide greater academic autonomy to universities with regards to development of some percentage of course contents.
He commended the commission for sharing the minimum graded units required for graduation with universities in the ratio of 70 to 30 per cent.
He said the recent industrial action by university based unions had necessitated a revisit of the issues that called for universities autonomy by government.
“This will lead to the review of university autonomy laws to appropriately address funding, including staff remuneration, institutional governance as well as issue of internally generated revenue.”
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In the new curriculum, Mass Communication was unbundled to Advertising, Broadcasting, Development Communication Studies, Film and Multimedia, Information and Media Studies, Journalism and Media Studies, Mass Communication, Public Relations and Strategic Communication.
Agriculture was unbundled into programmes in its contributing components of B.Sc Agricultural Economics, B.Sc. Animal Science, B.Sc. Crop Science and B.Sc. Soil Science;
There is also the unbundling of Architecture and introduction of Architecture as a new discipline with programmes like Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Architectural Technology, Interior Architecture design Architectural Technology and Naval architecture.
There is also the split of the Basic Medical Sciences discipline into Basic Medical Sciences and Allied Health Science;
Also is the reduction of the General Studies course from 36 credit units to 12 credit units of 6 courses such as Communication in English; Nigerian People and Culture; Philosophy, Logic and Human Existence; Entrepreneurship and Innovation; Venture creation; and Peace and Conflict resolution.
Entrepreneurship has been repackaged with the introduction of programme-specific entrepreneurship;
UNN ASUU directs members to withhold results over unpaid salaries
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) chapter, has directed its members to withhold examination results of students in protest over eight months unpaid salaries by Federal Government.
BREAKING: ASUU members receive full salary for November, arrears withheld
Lecturers under the aegis of the Academic Staff Union of Universities have received full salaries for the month of November 2022.
A senior member of the union at the Bayero University Kano revealed this in a chat with journalists in Abuja.
He said, “Some of our members have started receiving salaries and I can confirm to you that we received our full salaries for the month of November. However, the arrears are still withheld.”
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It was learnt that the eight-month arrears remained withheld by the Federal Government.
The FG had refused to pay the striking lecturers for the eight months which the union embarked on strike.
The lecturers in October 2022 received a half pay, according to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige.
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