The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has responded to the offer proposed by the chief negotiator of the Federal Government in the ongoing ASUU/Federal Government renegotiation which suggests that the tuition fee for all public Universities be increased to solve funding problems being faced by public tertiary institutions.
This was disclosed by the Zonal Coordinator of ASUU in Bauchi, Professor Lawan Abubakar while he was speaking at a press conference in Jos, the Plateau State Capital.
It will be recalled that earlier this week, ASUU rejected the 20 billion Naira fund offered by the Federal Government and demanded that the Federal Government start a formal negotiation in reference to the 2009 agreement between ASUU and the Federal Government.
Professor Abubakar revealed that ASUU is displeased with the offer tendered by the Federal Government through the government chief negotiator, Dr Wale Babalakin. He also explained that the offer proposed by Dr Wale Babalakin is a means for the Federal government to avoid the responsibility of funding education properly and an attempt to share education funding with students and their guardians.
“He proposed a minimum of N350, 000 as tuition fee for undergraduate students of Arts and Humanities, and N500, 000, for those in Sciences.
Our union rejected the proposal based on the fact that the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria clearly states that funding education is the sole responsibility of Governments at various levels and not parents.
In his response, he proposed the idea of an Education Bank, where students will obtain a loan of N1 million each, every session to pay the tuition fee and sustain themselves.
However, our union also rejected the idea of Education Bank, because for one, not all the students will have access to loan, and for those who will access the loan, it is the same parents who served as sureties and subsequently pay back the loan, considering the very high rate of unemployment in the country.
Supposing that the student is able to secure a job after graduation, he cannot start a life while paying back a loan of 4 to 6 million Naira, as the case may be.
In this kind of situation, the graduate would be subjected to, when will he finish paying the loan and establish himself? Frustration will gradually set in and make them live a life of misery”
The 7% of the total budget allocated to the education sector in the 2018 budget by the federal government of Nigeria is, to say the least, grossly below the UNESCO recommended minimum of 26%.
As if this mirage is not bad enough, State Governments across the country are establishing State Universities and abandoning them to TEFUND, the brainchild of ASUU as an intervention agency in the funding of education.
The Bauchi zone of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), hereby reiterates its unflinching support to the National Leadership of the Union towards its untiring efforts and commitment to the implementation of the 2017 Memorandum of Action (MoA), and by extension the 2013 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), the 2012 NEEDS Assessment Report, the 2012 Roadmap, the 2011 (MoU), indeed, the 2009 FGN/ASUU Agreement”
According to him, the federal government had in 2013 agreed to disburse the sum of N1.3 trillion for the revitalization of Nigeria universities, between 2013 and 2018, but said out of that amount only N200 billion has been released.
Professor Abubakar also disclosed that contrary to the news of the N20 billion fund which was said to have been approved and released by the FG, ASUU has not received any fund from the Federal Government since the negotiation started.
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