The Vice Chancellor, of Glorious Vision University (GVU), Ogwa, Edo State, Prof. Adewumi Babatunde Idowu, yesterday called on the federal, state and stakeholders in the education sector to develop a more sustainable and realistic solution to the perennial problem of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike.
Idowu, who made the call while giving his projections for the education sector in an interview with THISDAY, expressed regret that Nigerian leaders have failed to address the reoccurring issue of ASUU strike.
He pointed out that universities were shut for almost one year in 2022, but nothing came out of it.
According to him, “nothing except the balkanisation of the unions. Believe me, this action by the federal government is like the Frankenstein monster that will come back and hunt them. More so, denial of salaries has never helped. It didn’t work for the military. it will never work for any government.”
He stressed the need for governments at all levels to set aside one per cent of Value Added Tax (VAT) in a dedicated account, noting that the fund would be added to the original budget for tertiary education every year.
He recalled that such discretionary contribution proposed by ASUU, was what led to the establishment of TETFund, adding, “the government and Nigerians must see our universities as the pivot for national development and the system must be encouraged and empowered to fulfill that mandate.
“IPPIS should be immediately replaced with a payment system that recognises the peculiarities of higher education. Recent revelations have shown that IPPIS has huge challenges.
“Why is it difficult for the federal government to accept and make use of the payment platform developed by ASUU and Nigerians in particular?” the Professor of Zoology
He stated that vice chancellors must also start thinking outside the box on internally generated revenue, adding that a situation where they and other university managements, go cap in hand every month for subvention should not be the only way out. “Unarguably, most universities abroad generate so much from research grants and patronage by companies. Corporate organisations in Nigeria also need to be patronised to encourage the Nigerian university system.
“The welfare of the staff, academic and non-academic alike must be taken serious by the government and the universities. The current ‘japa’ syndrome has seen more than 28 per cent of academics relocating overseas within the last one year.
“This is not Japa; it is brain drain and Nigeria will pay dearly for it if nothing is done urgently to check this ugly trend.
“The governments, universities and other partners must start paying attention to science laboratories. Research drives science. If we fail to provide conducive environment for researcher, staff and students in the universities, nothing will happen,” Idowu stressed.