Events of the Year 2017: Education

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Industrial actions characterised activtities in the education sector in Nigeria in the year 2017

By Anayo Ezugwu

THE year 2017 was not rosy for education sector in Nigeria. It witnessed industrial actions from major labour unions in the education sector. Associations like the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, and the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, ASUP, embarked on industrial actions to register their grievances against the government much to the detriment of the students.

Other groups, who have also protested government neglects through industrial actions, are the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, the Non- Academic Staff Union of Universities and Associated Institutions, NASU, and the National Association of Academic Technologists, NAAT. Like NASU, NAAT and SSANU, they embarked on Monday, December 4, to press home its demands.

The unions accused the federal government of refusal to honour the Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, it willingly signed with them. Trouble started when the non-teaching staff unions in the universities under the umbrella of Joint Action Committee, JAC, rejected the N4.6 billion given to them from the N23 billion the federal government recently released to the four unions in the universities. The unions described the N4.6 billion allocated to them as pittance.

On November 19, ASUP embarked on industrial action over non- implementation of the report of the NEEDS Assessment survey of polytechnics, sustained shortfall in personnel cost, withdrawal of their allowances since December 2015 and non-payment of promotion arrears. According to ASUP, it had engaged in series of meetings with the federal government which culminated into an agreement signed between the government and the union.

But the union on November 29, suspended the strike because of its impact on the students, parents and society based on pleas by well meaning Nigerians. Usman Dutse, president, ASUP, said the suspension was to give government an opportunity to implement resolutions agreed upon.

Similarly, ASUU on August 13, embarked on nationwide industrial action, accusing the federal government of not implementing the 2009 agreement and the 2013 Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, reached with it.

But on September 18, the union called-off the strike after reaching agreement with the federal government. Abiodun Ogunyemi, national president, ASUU, said if the government fails to implement the agreement, the union will not hesitate to take appropriate action, adding that all the items on the list have a time line. tASUU and the federal government team led by Senator Chris Ngige, minister of labour and employment, had met to sort out all the gray areas and reach an agreement.

During the year under review, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, August 22, pegged the minimum cut-off point for admissions into Nigerian universities at 120. The decision was taken in collaboration with Vice Chancellors, Rectors and Provosts of higher institutions in the country at a combined policy meeting on admissions into universities, polytechnics and other higher institutions in Nigeria.

The stakeholders also adopted 100 as the minimum cut-off mark for admission into polytechnics. Is-haq Oloyede, registrar, JAMB, said universities, with the decision are not to go below the minimum 120 cut-off points adopted by the meeting for admissions. He called for the adoption of flexible cut-off marks for admission processes by higher institutions in the country.

But the new minimum cut-off point for universities had received lots of flak from parents, civic right groups, and students. Many universities, mostly private ones decided to adopt a different cut-off point for their incoming students.

Other events in the education sector in the year include the West African Examination Council, WAEC, released its May/June 2017 secondary school certificate examination results on July 17.

At the State level, in November, the Kaduna State Executive Council approved the outcome of the primary four teachers’ competency test and directed immediate process for recruiting 25,000 teachers to replace those who failed the examination. The names of the 11,220 out of the 33,000 primary school teachers that passed primary four competency test conducted by Kaduna government was released.

– Dec 29, 2017 @ 17:06 GMT |

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