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LATEST NEWS: Honour ASUU agreement, group tells FG

LATEST NEWS: Honour ASUU agreement, group tells FG

Publish date: 2022-07-13 18:00:36 | Author: Noah Banjo | Source: punchng.com

A group, under the aegis of the Science for Impact Initiative, has called on stakeholders to pressure the Federal Government to heed the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities to put an end to recurrent strikes.

The group made this known in a statement titled, ‘Recurrent ASUU strike: A preventable disaster’, on Wednesday, where it noted that the recurrent strike by ASUU had stalled the development of education in Nigeria and had made life difficult for students and their parents.

The PUNCH reports that the ASUU strike, which started as a warning exercise on February 12, 2022, has entered its fifth month, with the Union yet to shift its position on its demands to the government.

The statement was signed by Dr Adeniji Adejimi, Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa; Dr Taiwo Agidigbi, KyungHee University, South Korea; Joshua Babalola, Medical University of Graz, Austria; Dr Olumuyiwa Igbalajobi, University of British Columbia, Canada; Dr Opeyemi Lawal, University of Guelph, Canada; Opeyemi Oludada, University of Heidelberg, Germany.

SCINT, which is an umbrella body for Voices in STEM-Nigeria, noted that the protracted strike had contributed to Nigeria lagging in scientific research hence the country is behind its global counterparts in innovation, with special reference to the development of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The statement reads in part, “There is absolutely no country in the world that can be productive while her universities or tertiary institutions are constantly locked. The incessant feuds between the Federal Government of Nigeria and ASUU over the years have had a huge impact on research outputs and degree completion time, and have also resulted in financial as well as emotional constraints on the part of students and parents. The question is for how long would this preventable trend linger?

“The recurrent ASUU strike will only setback by decades our nation’s scientific exploits that could translate to development and problem-solving discoveries.

“Of note, research activities in these public universities were completely shut down at a time when the world was scampering and scientists around the world were exploring novel strategies to develop drugs and vaccines to combat the global threat of SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19.

“The effect of industrial actions in the last couple of years has always been felt greatly by the students. Take, for instance, students are constantly deprived of life-changing opportunities due to a lack of access to transcripts and other necessary documents needed to process scholarship and funding opportunities attributed to strike actions that constantly paralyse the entire academic and administrative processes.”

According to the statement, an immediate digitalisation of processes in public universities “would not only remove the artificial delays in processing documents but would also increase efficiency”.

SCINT noted that stakeholders must play their role in holding the government accountable to prevent a collapse of Nigeria’s educational system.

The group also urged private individuals to support the funding of public universities in the country noting that education was capital intensive

“To save our educational system from imminent collapse, the stakeholders should put pressure on the government to honour the agreement they already had with ASUU dated back to 2009.

“Stakeholders should continue to check and balance government budgeting by ensuring that both the federal and state governments reserve a reasonable percentage of their annual budgetary allocation to education according to the recommendation of The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.

“Going forward, qualitative research can only thrive in a conducive and adequately funded ecosystem with accessible infrastructures. The present clamour for the adequate funding of the Nigerian educational system by ASUU is not only justifiable but also a norm in saner climes.

“However, all stakeholders including the industry must be encouraged to create an industry-academic partnership that could foster growth and innovative research in our universities. The sole reliance on the government for funding may be far from reality.

“Nevertheless, education is capital intensive; therefore, the federal and state government cannot handle it effectively alone. It is suggested that patriotic Nigerians should also support the funding of public universities,” the statement added.

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