ASUU strike Brain drain to hit universities as lecturers relocate overseas. The Academic Staff Union of Universities’ (ASUU) strike is still ongoing, especially because the National Industrial Court, Abuja division is now hearing the matter. According to DAILY POST inquiries, universities could soon see a brain drain because some teachers are already leaving the nation.
Due to the unnecessarily prolonged academic sessions and the subsequent toll on parents’ and guardians’ financial circumstances, students and parents are the ones who suffer the most in this deadlock.
Academic unions have participated in a number of strikes since the previous administrations to protest the federal government’s lack of concern for the welfare of their members and the country’s tertiary institutions’ infrastructure needs.
No administration since 1999 has gone without an ASUU strike, although the most recent one began on February 14, 2022, after the union had given the system for K–12 education a 14–month strike notice, severely crippling it.
The strike has persisted despite several attempts by the federal government to end it by hosting talks and negotiations with the striking union.
The funding of tertiary institution revitalization, the payment of unpaid Earned Academic Allowances (EAA), a review of the NUC 2004 Act to address the proliferation of universities, and a 26 percent budgetary allocation for the education sector are among the seven main demands that ASUU made of the federal government.
Implementing the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), creating visiting panels, withholding wages, failing to pay union check-off dues, and fixing the pay gap for lecturers were some of the additional issues.
According to information obtained by DAILY POST, the federal government has complied with some of the requests; nevertheless, ASUU refuses to back down because of the FG’s history of breaching agreements.
Adamu Adamu, the minister of education, blamed the union’s inability to reach a settlement for the ongoing strike, adding that no demand could be fully met by any administration.
The federal government has given a 23.5 percent wage rise for lecturers of all categories and a 35 percent salary increase for professors, according to Adamu, who called the offer the “greatest” it could make despite the fact that the raise will begin to take effect in January 2023.
The FG, he continued, had decided to release N200 billion in the budget for 2023 for the revitalization of federal universities, to pay back accrued allowances that were past due, as well as to ensure prompt payment of allowances to all deserving staff as they became due. He also reaffirmed that the FG would uphold the “no work, no pay policy.”
ASUU should accept the economic reality of Nigeria’s current situation, the minister said, adding that the current administration would not be persuaded to support unrealistic deals with ASUU as the previous administration had done in an effort to defuse tension.
These accommodative proposals did not, however, sway ASUU, which is adamant about getting all of its demands met. Although it is clear that ASUU’s refusal is based on the minister’s position regarding the government’s earlier decision not to pay striking lecturers for the time they were off the job, his silence on the timetable for the release of the outstanding N1.2 trillion resulting from the 2009 and 2012 agreements presents a different problem.
The Minister further claims that one of the points of disagreement is the planned payment platform, which President Muhammadu Buhari has not yet authorized since the technical committee in charge of the process has not turned in its report.
The technical committee’s report on the three payment platforms is what the president is genuinely anticipating. One of the reports has been viewed by me, but I have not seen the complete report. According to what I have observed, the U3PS is most likely the best, followed by UTAS and IPPIS.
Emmanuel Osodeke, the national chairman of ASUU, clarified that the union’s demands go beyond the welfare of teachers to include the renovation of Nigerian colleges in order to draw in students from around the globe.
He stated, “We are requesting that money for Nigerian parents and pupils. The funds will be used to upgrade lecture halls, libraries, and other facilities so that students won’t have to attend lectures while sitting on the floor and through windows. In addition, instructors’ wages should be competitive.
Some youngsters and their parents are in a pickle because of the back and forth nature of the issue. Some professors who received offers to teach abroad have already left the country.
Dr. Happiness Uduk, the chair of ASUU’s Akwa Ibom State chapter, who also verified that some lecturers and professors are fleeing the nation, advised the federal government to take swift action to prevent the imminent disaster this will bring upon Nigeria’s educational system.
She remarked that “really, professors and other academics in UniUyo who had possibilities outside the country have departed and more are leaving the country for better pastures,” however she did not specify how many lecturers and professors had left the university where she lectures, UniUyo.
However, when our correspondent spoke with students, they voiced concern about the ongoing ASUU strike and urged the FG and the Union to reach a truce so that classes could resume.
In contrast, the senator who represents the Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District, Dr. Chris Ekpenyong, expressed compassion for the striking union and questioned why the federal government was unable to fully satiate ASUU’s demands once and for all in an exclusive interview.
The senator advised the federal government not to give up and let the institutions deteriorate, labeling the educational system in Nigeria as broken and the infrastructure situation as disastrous.
“I have the sympathies with ASUU; it is a failing of the administration in power,” he said, adding that. But I’m still concerned about the fact that even though our last president was highly educated and the first PhD holder to serve as president, there was an ASUU strike that lasted for several months. I had anticipated that he would be the one to address the ASUU issue, but he was unable to.
“ASUU had complained about brain drain, our educational system is highly dysfunctional, and it would be disastrous for the government to turn a blind eye and reject solutions put forth by ASUU for the growth and development of education and manpower. Therefore, I don’t support the government throwing in the towel and telling ASUU to do whatever they want. ASUU and the federal government ought to come to an agreement, according to Ekpenyong.