ASUU wants 15% vote for education to check strikes

To avert the incessant industrial actions and restore sanity, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has proposed a 15 per cent budgetary allocation for the education section.

The striking lecturers ruled out returning to the classrooms this week, saying the union leadership was consulting with its branches to deliberate on government’s offer.

ASUU president, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, told The Guardian yesterday in an interview that the body was still collating government’s promises.

“There are some aspects of our demands that government said it is implementing. Once we get a feedback from our branches, we will know what we have left to tackle. We hope to meet with the government during the week to see how far it has gone,” he said.

Asked on the way out of the logjam, Ogunyemi said government must be ready to allocate at least 15 per cent of the national budget to the sector.

In the last four years, government only allocated N369 billion (6.10%); N550 billion (7.38%); N606 billion (7.03%) and N620.5 billion to education, which had been described as grossly inadequate by stakeholders.

The union has since November last year down tools in protest against inadequate funding of the sector and government’s failure to implement agreements reached with it on revitalisation of public institutions.

He said: “ASUU is as concerned as any other stakeholder over the lingering strike. Talking of lasting solutions, I will explain in two broad areas – the first angle to the issue is for government to follow up on the areas we have worked together to identify sustainable sources of funding education in Nigeria. We submitted a position paper and government also had a workshop and we identified some key areas that it will need to explore.

“To start with, not less than 15 per cent of the budget should be allocated to education. If government can faithfully implement this, our universities and public institutions would have quantum of resources.

“The second aspect is political commitment. Government should keep faith with agreements and understanding reached with staff unions. ASUU does not just go on strike. It would process available information and refers government to extant understanding, memoranda and agreements. ”

These provide the framework that we have both worked on to keep our institutions on track for delivery on their mandate. That is why it is about political commitment.”

Ogunyemi added: Funds can be diverted or mismanaged. So, when they generate funds, they should be used for the development of our education, improve institutional governance and ensure that they are prudently managed within the established frameworks.”

On plans to probe its expenditure, Ogunyemi said government could only probe universities based on released funds.

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