The Federal Government on Tuesday said it has done much for the education sector, especially, to the universities, which should enable the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) reconsider its position on industrial strike.
Minister of State for Education, Goodluck Opiah, said this in a presentation to the Senate Committee (Tertiary Institutions and TETfund) during an oversight visit to the Federal Ministry of Education on Tuesday in Abuja.
Opiah noted that it wouldn’t be out of place for major stakeholders in governance, like the members of the National Assembly, to leverage on what the government has done so far to see if the striking lecturers can go back to the classrooms.
The Minister said that the federal government has done the necessary things for ASUU to resume classes, adding that major stakeholders like the federal lawmakers can also come into the matter.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media/Public Affairs, Kelechi Mejuobi, Opiah said contrary to the wrong impression being held about the position of the federal government, all demands of ASUU have been met.
He said that the federal government only came up with a standard principle of “no work, no pay” which he said was a universal policy the university teachers are expected to imbibe and let go.
The statement reads: “Government has yielded to all the demands of ASUU. The only thing is that government doesn’t support “anyone who doesn’t work but wants pay”
Opiah, who represented the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, during the visit of the senators, revealed that TETfund has done more than expected by throwing in trillions of naira into the system, more than what ASUU requested for the infrastructural development of universities in the country, adding that issues related to their welfare have also been settled.
While noting that a stakeholders’ dialogue on education can’t be ruled out from having a perfect system in the sector, the Minister stated that the involvement of other stakeholders will vindicate the position of government in the matter.
The Minister solicited the support of the Senate on Tertiary Institutions and TETfund for financial support to the new institutions of higher learning created by the federal government towards the end of the 2021, as bail-out request had been made to the Honourable minister of finance, budget and national planning for support to the institutions.
On achievements of the education ministry, the minister said that strides have been recorded in youth and adult literacy including science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).
“Other areas of excellence the ministry has recorded include teacher education, capacity building and professional development, curriculum and policy matters, tertiary education, education data and planning, information and communication technology in education and library services,” the statement added.
Opiah further solicited the assistance and cooperation of the national assembly at all times, adding that the ministry enjoys such visits.
He stated that all that was needed to move the education sector forward must be done by the ministry in line with the agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Senate Committee led by the Chairman and Vice Chairman of TETfund Senator (Prof) Sandy Onor who expressed satisfaction with the manner they were received by the ministry said that the function was part of the constitutional responsibilities expected of them.
The Senate committee members expressed interest to join in the resolution process of the ongoing ASUU strike if called upon.
Present at the event were top officials of the ministry led by the Permanent Secretary, Andrew Adejo.