Pro-Chancellors of state-owned universities have backed the decision of the Federal Government to withhold the seven months salaries of university lecturers under the umbrella of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) for embarking on nationwide strike.
The Pro-Chancellors encouraged the Federal Government to be courageous to enforce the extant rule on “no work no pay”, as failure to apply such rules in the past led to impunity in the society.
Secretary of the Committee of Pro-Chancellors of state-owned universities, Marcus Awobifa, in a statement, indicated that the decision was taken at the end of the quarterly meeting of the Committee held in Abuja.
Awobifa said the Committee admitted that State Universities have the right to adopt or reject agreement reached with ASUU by the Federal Government because education is on the concurrent legislative list.
He reiterated that the Committee will not be coerced to adopt hook, line and sinker any agreement to which it was not a party abinitio, hence he pledged that State-owned universities will continue to negotiate with its employees in accordance with the terms and conditions of their engagements.
The Pro-Chancellors maintained its support for reforms in the education sector, restating that the ongoing strike which has been unnecessarily prolonged was obsolete, and ASUU cannot continue to apply the same strategy and expect a different result.
“The university system lost over 50 months to strikes since 1999 resulting in elongated academic calendars with the nation paying heavy price,while the students, parents and the university workforce have been put in perpetual position to miss and lose many life opportunities.”
They urged the political class to give greater attention to education with substantial increase in the budgetary allocation, arguing that education is the key to the future of the country.
They further appealed to the various political parties jostling for power in the 2023 general elections to initiate innovative reforms in the education sector in their manifestos in order to part ways with the persistent crisis in the sector.
They believe that to maintain international best practices and be recognized among first rated universities in the world, the governments at Federal and State levels should improve on the funding of their universities and enhance the welfare of the workforce, suggesting that states government should exercise restraint in establishing new universities, but invest
heavily on the existing ones to improve on the quality of their infrastructure and manpower.