Two days after the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) embarked on a one-month warning strike, the National Officers’ Council (NOC) of Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) has threatened to do the same if the federal government fails to meet their demands.
The union’s President, Dr. Smart Olugbeko, listed their demands as the renegotiation of the 2009 Agreement, the lingering crisis created by the imposition of IPPIS and the release of the N15 billion Revitalisation Fund which are critical to development of colleges of education in Nigeria.
“The union is therefore calling on the federal government to quickly commence the renegotiation of the 2009 agreement with the Union and release the N15 billion Revitalisation Fund to our Colleges.
“The union will in the next few weeks call the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting to take necessary actions as permissible by the Trade Union Act if the government fails to do the needful. We observed with utter dismay the attitude of the federal government to the colleges of education sub-sector.
“The union in its characteristic disposition to peaceful resolution of issues has between August and December 2021 met with the minister, the permanent secretary, directors, and other officials of government that have roles in addressing the lingering issues between the Union and the government several times.
“As critical as these issues are, the federal government has been lackadaisical in resolving them.
“The federal government in 2013 constituted a presidential committee to assess the needs of colleges of education in Nigeria; the report submitted in 2014 by the team indicated that the sum of N391 billion which was later reviewed in 2017 by the Federal Ministry of Education to N465 billion would be needed to reposition colleges of education in Nigeria for better performance and for national development.
“The federal government citing paucity of funds in 2018 agreed to release N15 billion to revitalise colleges of education in Nigeria. The union has been consistent in mounting pressure on the government to release this fund to the colleges to meet their urgent needs that are hampering teaching and learning,” he said.
Olugbeko said the government has abandoned its responsibility of adequately funding teacher education as the government has left colleges of education in Nigeria to continue to suffer from infrastructural decay while the running of the school is being done by the paltry internally generated revenue (IGR) of the colleges.
He said, ‘This attitude of the government has further watered-down standards in our colleges and demotivated both staff and students as there are inadequate lecture rooms, ill-equipped laboratories, obsolete libraries, and an unconducive learning environment.”