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Striking ASUU members shouldn’t be paid – Education minister

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Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba

The Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, has said it doesn’t make sense for members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities to continue to earn salaries while on strike.

The PUNCH reports that ASUU began one month warning strike on February 14, 2022 and since then has not suspended its industrial action.

Speaking to The PUNCH in a telephone interview on Sunday, Nwajiuba said, “The lecturers have continued to earn salaries while on strike; it doesn’t make sense to earn salaries when you have refused to work.

“If you refuse to even pay them, by the time they call off the strike, they will still come back to fight for the payment of the period they refused to work.

“You can air your grievances, come to the negotiation table without refusing to work. The issue of the strike has become a thing of concern. I have four children; two have graduated while the other two are still in public universities. I feel for them, I feel for other students who are at home. I feel the same way other parents feel, but can I bring money from my house and give it to ASUU?

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“The Ministry of Education isn’t the employer of the lecturers, we are a supervisory body, and there is no way we can fire or hire someone. Universities have governing councils that supervise the activities that go on, our job as in the ministry is to supervise, we can’t meddle in.

“On the issue of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, I am also paid via the IPPIS, it is owned by the government, there is no way you can tell the government to throw away its platform and pay you with another platform.”

Meanwhile, the President of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, Mohammed Ibrahim, has accused the Federal Government of focusing on frivolous things and neglecting the education sector and the youths.

Speaking during the 2022 May Day celebration in Abuja on Sunday, Ibrahim said the universities were forced to shut down due to government insincerity, adding that the standard of education had continued to go down.

He stated, “Our universities have been forced to shut down due to the insincerity of the government to keep to its promises. The standard of education continues to go down due to the insensitivity of the government and the inability to provide a good teaching, learning and work environment through lack of basic facilities that will make them compete favourably with their peers in other parts of the world.

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“The morale of university workers is dampened by the poor pay package and the government appears to be paying lip service to education. It is very clear that government pays more attention to frivolous things and has neglected youths that are said to be the leaders of tomorrow.’’

The SSANU President lamented the condition of Nigerian workers whom he said were going through perilous times in form of insecurity, economic hardship and other challenges.

He noted, “This year’s Workers Day comes when Nigerian workers are passing through perilous and dangerous times. Nigerian workers and indeed members of our great union are confronted with diverse challenges like rising spate of armed banditry, kidnappings, insurgency, economic hardship and worst of all, the inability of the government to keep to agreements it entered into with all the university-based unions in 2009.

“Our members have been denied payment of new Minimum Wage Consequential Adjustment arrears and backlog of earned allowances in addition to other violations of our rights and privileges.  Our universities have been forced to shut down due to the insincerity of the government to keep to its promises.”

He admonished the government to resolve the ongoing strike by university workers and also tackle the challenges facing the country.

“Toying with the future of our children will spell doom for our dear country. I call on the government to look into the demands of all the university-based unions and take urgent steps to address them so that our children will go back to school,’’ the union urged.

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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