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Strike: We’re still considering govt offer, says ASUU

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  • NANS threatens to shut down all private universities

National President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, says the appropriate organ of the union is still reflecting on the Federal Government’s offer and will make its position known soon.

He denied claims that the union agreed to end its strike on Wednesday, December 9.

He spoke just as the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has threatened to shut down all private universities across the country should the nine-month strike embarked upon by ASUU continue.

“To put the records straight, the principal officers and trustees, who constitute the core of representatives of ASUU at negotiation meetings with the government, are not constitutionally empowered to suspend any strike action,” Ogunyemi said in a statement.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, in a statement, had said ASUU promised to call of the strike by December 9, 2020.

Ngige also said promises made to ASUU could only be achieved if the union returned to work.

But Ogunyemi said, “ASUU leadership did not reach any understanding with government to suspend the strike on December 9, 2020, and there is nothing in the government offer of November 27, 2020 to suggest that conclusion as allegedly claimed by the Minister of Labour and Employment.

“At our last meeting in the office of the Minister of Labour and Employment on November 27, 2020, the ASUU leadership promised to faithfully present the latest government offer to its members through the established tradition.

“The latest offer by government makes proposals on nearly all items of demand by the union with timelines. Among others, the document which was signed by the Hon. Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, contains proposals on inauguration of the reconstituted FGN-ASUU Renegotiation Committee (1st December, 2020); release of details about visitation panels (1st December, 2020); working on the actualisation of the release of the withheld salaries of ASUU members (Wednesday, December 9, 2020).

“Clause 9 on the document reads, ‘Based on these conclusions reached on items 1-8, ASUU’s leadership will consult its organs with a view to suspending the ongoing strike.’”

He explained that the outcome of any engagement with agents of the government remained an offer which must be taken back to the branches through the various organs of the union.

He stated, “Views and perspectives on offers by governments are aggregated and presented to government agents as counter-offers.

“This trade union strategy of offer and counter-offer is continually deployed until the National Executive Council (NEC) of ASUU – consisting of all recognised chairpersons – finally approves what it considers an acceptable offer from the government. It is only then that any strike action by ASUU can be suspended.”

Ogunyemi also said the strike would have been avoided had the government implemented agreements it signed with ASUU.

The ASUU leader said, “It was a needless crisis in the first place. It happened because government has consistently failed to faithfully implement the agreements it freely signed with the union.

“ASUU members, as stakeholders in the Nigerian university system, are equally worried and embarrassed that those in position of authority, over the years, displayed seeming indifference to the rot and decay in Nigeria’s public universities.”

Meanwhile, President of NANS, Sunday Asefon, while speaking on a Punch Online interview programme, The Roundtable, said the association would shut down all private universities if FG and ASUU failed to resolve the crisis.

Asefon, who lamented that the ongoing strike, which is the longest industrial action embarked upon by the university lecturers, said that NANS would get into a discussion with the Federal Government representatives and ASUU leaders to find a lasting solution to resolve the stalemate in negotiations between the two sides.

However, the NANS President pointed out that if the strike action was not called off as soon as possible after consultations with both parties, the association would be left with no option but to move in and shut down all tertiary institutions in the country.

Education

FG Introduces menial studies, others to varsity curriculum

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Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu

“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;

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Education

UNN ASUU directs members to withhold results over unpaid salaries

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University of Nigeria, Nsukka

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.

The university lecturers’ union also directed its members to boycott, forthwith, departmental, faculty and Senate council meetings, aimed at approving results of students until the salary issue is addressed.

The lecturers had carried placards, and marched round the school premises to protest non-payment of their salaries. Some of the placards read: “We say no to intimidation by government,” “Kill education, kill the nation,” “No pay, no results,” “Lecturers are not casual workers,” among others.

Speaking to newsmen after their protest at the school premises, the chapter Chairman, Dr. Christian Opata, insisted that members are not happy with the half salary payment to them when the strike action was called off last month. He said: “We will continue to teach, but will not release results of exams or allow school Senate to seat and approve any result.

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“ASUU is saying no to government policy of ‘no work, no pay;’ but if government insists on the policy, ASUU will not handle any academic activity that falls within that eight months period.

“ASUU wants government to honour its agreement with the union since 2009, and stop further attempt that will keep students away from school.”
Opata described, as unfortunate, the attempt by government to treat lecturers as labourers by using the so-called ‘pro-rata’ format to pay them their October salary.

“This is the first time in history of the country when university academic staff are paid as casual workers; an indication that the current administration has no regard for education,” he said.

He threatened that ASUU is determined to embark on what will be known in Nigeria’s history as “mother of all strikes” should government fail to do the needful.

“If government thinks that implementing its policy of ‘no work, no pay’ and withholding our salary will prevent us from embarking on strike again, then it is a big joke. If government fails to do the needful soon, ASUU will return to indefinite strike action in public universities,” he added.

Guardian

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Education

BREAKING: ASUU members receive full salary for November, arrears withheld

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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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