There are strong indications that after eight months at home due to the strike action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), public universities may soon reopen for academic activities.
The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, disclosed this at the inauguration ceremony for the reconstituted Federal Government team for the renegotiation of the 2009 agreements with ASUU.
He announced that significant progress has been recorded in the negotiations with the union in finding lasting solutions to the challenges confronting the education sector, and most especially, the university sub-sector.
The minister noted the government is also worried about the vicious cycle over the years of the myriad of industrial actions university unions.
Adamu said, “As you are quite aware, the Federal Government and relevant stakeholders, in the past months, have been neck-deep in several meetings with the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and others, to resolve the outstanding issues that led to the current industrial action in public universities.
“It is noteworthy that although most of residual issues were part of the comprehensive agreement reached with the previous administration, I can report that significant progress has, so far, been recorded and there is an opportunity that our public universities, like their private counterparts, will soon reopen for academic activities.”
He explained that the government team is expected to take another look at the 2009 agreements reached with the university-based Unions and work with each Union towards making far-reaching recommendations that would reposition the Nigerian university system.
“It has also become necessary and urgent that all hands must now be on deck to restore the confidence reposed in university education by students, parents and the general public,” Adamu said.
The Federal Government Team, which is categorised into substantive members, advisers and observers, is led by Professor Emeritus Munzali Jibril.
The minister tasked the team to “Propose and prescribe short, medium and long-term measures for the sustainable funding and management of Federal universities, in order to restore lasting peace, stability, harmony and progress in the Nigerian University System; and
“Re-negotiate the residual issues in the 2009 Agreements between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the university-based unions, towards a workable and implementable agreement between both parties, such that will facilitate repositioning of Nigerian universities for greater responsibilities in national development;
“Make any other recommendations, as may be necessary, to ensure the realistic implementation of future agreements, by all stakeholders. Let me congratulate you on your appointment, which is a clarion call to service.”