Politics

ASUU’s proposals to resolve strike unreasonable, unrealistic – Ezekwesili

Second refusal to approve Magu EFCC boss, a national disgrace –Ezekwesili

Former minister of education Oby Ezekwesili has said the proposals of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to the Federal Government towards resolving the issues at the heart of the ongoing strike were unrealistic.

Ezekwesili, who made this argument on Wednesday during an appearance on Channels Television, said ASUU’s proposed solutions were unreasonable, considering Nigeria’s present economic situation.

“I think that the issues that ASUU raises concerning improving the university system are very germane to what you need to discuss in an economy and society like ours. I find the solutions, however, rather unrealistic”, she said.

“The reason that I maintained that the solutions proposed by ASUU are unrealistic is because I do not think that we have had the kind of conversations that would enable us to solve structural problems in a structural way”, Ezekwesili added.

She cited her experience as education minister, revealing that talks between ASUU and the government had completely broken down by the time she was appointed in 2006.

Read also: ASUU STRIKE: FG may take decision today

She said, “One of the first priorities that I gave to myself, even though it was hardly a year before government was going come to an end, was a to work with ASUU in a strong partnership to really get a good grasp in an analytical and empirically driven manner, the issues we needed to tackle.

“And some of these issues were clearly not just funding issues, the funding is the tail end of the story. The key issues that you needed to deal with; you needed to discuss issues of governance and structure of the university system in the country in terms of partnership, in terms of participation in the tertiary education in the country”.

Ezekwesili emphasized the importance of building internal capacity around the core areas of the system towards the development of Nigeria’s tertiary education.

She said, “We needed to look at the issues of faculty, key to the performance of any university system is academic distinction and scholarship, as well as academic research.

“We needed to get a grasp of what kind of quality of faculty did you need in an emerging economic environment, in order to enable the kind of learning outcomes that would make the product of education relevant to the widest society especially the economy”.

The former minister further highlighted the need to invest in technology and infrastructure in the universities.

“You needed to look at the deployment of technology, you needed to look at the physical infrastructure in the university system; you needed to look at issues of resource accountability and performance, and many other issues that are important.

“In looking at all of that, you will be guided by a lot in terms of benchmarking, in terms of analytical comparabilities, and you also need to understand that the conversation with ASUU has always been on the basis of a unionised approach,” she said.

 

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Chidi Chinedu

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