SECTORAL AGENDA: Ahead of the Year 2018, which commenced yesterday, stakeholders in the nation’s education sector have set agenda for the system, hoping they would address the multifarious challenges facing us as a country
As the nation begins the journey into 2018, major players in the education sector, who are already apprehensive over the unfavourable developments in the system, have set agenda for the sector’s revitalisation.
These stakeholders, which include the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the Senior Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (SSANU); Education Rights Concern (ERC) and other members of the academia, have called on the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to rise up to the challenges of rescuing the sector from its imminent collapse.
Citing the poor allocation to the sector in the proposed 2018, which is currently before the National Assembly, among other numerous unresolved challenges confronting the system, hold the view that as the fulcrum for national development, education deserves priority in the order of things.
Some of the issues listed by these stakeholders, which they claim are deserving of the attention of government at all levels, include incessant workers’ strikes, paucity of funds, dearth of instructional materials, decayed infrastructure, shortage of qualified teachers, and poor teachers’ remuneration and welfare, among others.
According to them, the ongoing indefinite nationwide strike embarked upon by the non-teaching staff unions of universities, comprising the Senior Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), Non-Academic Staff of Universities (NASU) and the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), who are protesting the alleged disparity in the disbursement of the earned allowance to all the staff unions in Nigerian universities, should be addressed without further delay. Following the strike, which entered its second month this week, administrative and other allied activities across Nigerian universities had been paralysed with many universities abruptly shutting down.
Lamenting the low budgetary allocation to the education sector, they criticized the Federal Government for paying a lip service to the ailing sector, which they said would be worse for it this year, if nothing substantial was done to improve funding into the system. They said the proposal of N605.8 billion, representing only about 7 per cent of the total budget of N8.6 trillion fiscal budget to education, is too meager to take the sector out of the wood.