Academic unions and parents of students across the country yesterday urged Education Minister, Prof. Tahir Mamman, to ensure improvement in the welfare of academics, improved funding and remuneration, as well as stabilise the academic calendar, and tackle out-of-school children.
The unions include the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the Congress of University Academics (CONUA), and the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP).
They bared their minds following the swearing-in of ministers by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu yesterday in Abuja.
In a statement by its President, Dr. Niyi Sunmonu, CONUA urged the education minister to prioritise stability in university calendar and enhance local and international profile of the Nigerian university system.
He hailed President Tinubu for choosing a “solid academic and with vast administrative and political experience”.
“CONUA is hopeful that during the tenure of this new Minister of Education, the relationship between the government and the Labour Unions in the tertiary education sector will be marked by a greater level of cordiality,” he added.
In a telephone chat with The Nation, ASUU Chairman at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) branch, Prof. Kayode Adebayo, urged Mamman to address the 2009 renegotiated agreement, poor remuneration and ensure that the salaries of members held during last year’s eight-month strike are paid to restore hope and boost the morale of lecturers.
“We hope that the new minister considering his pedigree, will bring new hope to the education sector. We believe he will be able to understand the level of decay in the sector, especially the affront on public university system and put mechanisms in place to tackle all issues,” he said.
In its statement, ASUP President Anderson Ezeibe urged the minister to find solutions to the issue of out-of-school children and review the current status of Higher National Diploma (HND) and its possible replacement with a Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech) certification (for qualified polytechnics) while retaining the National Diploma (ND) certification for skills and artisanal certification in the sector.