The two weeks warning strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities [ASUU] will still continue despite the government’s new proposals to the lecturers.
ASUU began the strike on March 9, 2020 after a disagreement with the Federal Government over Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System [IPPIS] and other issues relating to university funding.
The leadership of ASUU and that of Federal Government delegation met at the Ministry of Labour and Employment for about eight hours on Wednesday, after which ASUU president, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, said that no pronouncement would be made until after presenting the new government proposals to members of the union.
At the meeting were the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, Minister of State at the ministry, Festus Keyamo (SAN), Executive Secretary of the National University Commission, Minister of State for Education, Accountant General of the Federation, Permanent secretaries in the ministries of labour and that of education.
Leader of the government team, Ngige, told journalists at the end of the meeting after 11pm that both parties had fruitful deliberations on contentious issues, especially the issue of Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System.
“The meeting was longer than anticipated because we had to look at all the issues that were in our 2019 Memorandum of Actions, especially those who had not been fully addressed. We made new proposal on behalf of FG to ASUU.
“These issues range from funding, revitalization of public universities, earned academic allowances, salary shortfalls in the Federal University of Akure and the issue of state universities.
“We also addressed payment of earned academic allowances to University of Ilorin.
“On the Nigerian University Pension Commission, certificate was issued last year but operational certificate had not been issued because we do not have a permanent PENCOM board in place.
“We have made proposal on how NUPENCO board will be able to fulfill its obligation especially in terms of preparation of annual audit reports.
“Issue of visitation panel to the universities has been on the table since last year. Government side made progress in that approval has been gotten and we are waiting for the gazette of the membership of the visitation panel.
“Issue of IPPIS was also discussed and options and solutions were advanced. Government has a proposal which had been given to ASUU. ASUU will take these issues that are outstanding back to its National Executive Council for them to be on the same page before they get back to government.
“We have agreed that tentative date to get back to government is before the weekend runs out. We expect ASUU to write government before then to see if there will be need for further meeting.
ASUU President, Ogunyemi, said the lecturers were eager to go back to the classrooms because it was of national interest. He added that members of ASUU were only defending the Nigerian universities.
“We had some fruitful discussion and improved on where we were last time. We have concrete proposals that we can take back to our members. But as we usually say, we cannot make final pronouncement until we get back to our members.
“We have assured government team that we will report to our principals and get back. We want to assure Nigerians that we are concerned with going back to our work because that is where we are happiest.
“We are not happy staying outside the classrooms, laboratories and laboratories. We will do our best to ensure that all concerned have the maximum benefit from this action because it is of national interest. If academics don’t defend the universities, who will defend the academics?”
Homegrown food distribution, a success in Lagos State – LASUBEB
The Lagos State Universal Education Board (LASUBEB) says it has recorded success in the ongoing Homegrown food distribution to Schools Programme launched in Lagos on May 21.
This is contained in a statement by Mrs Eniola Adewunmi, Public Relations Officer of the board, in Lagos on Tuesday.
Adewunmi said the targeted 37, 589 households of pupils in public primary school. one to three had been concluded.
She said the Feeding Programme was anchored and financed by the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development.
She said the programme also supported by the Lagos State Government through LASUBEB was designed to see to the continued sustenance of primary school pupils in spite of the school’s closure.
“Immediately after the flag-off, the distribution of Take-Home Rations to households of pupils started in earnest in 202 centres across the 20 Local Government Education Authorities (LGEA) in the state.
“Each beneficiary received a Take-Home Ration made up of 5kg Bag of Rice, 5kg Bag of Beans, 500 ml Vegetable Oil, 750ml Palm Oil, 500mg Salt, 15 pieces of eggs and 140gm Tomato Paste.
“During the exercise, the Executive Chairman of LASUBEB, Hon. Wahab Alawiye-King, Board Members, and the Board Secretary effectively monitored the distribution exercise.
“At most of the centres visited, the chairman expressed satisfaction with the conduct of government officials at the various centres as well as the orderliness of the parents being attended to, describing the exercise as transparent,’’ she said.
COVID-19: Lagos working to protect pupils when FG reopens schools – Education Commissioner
The Lagos State Government has begun work on putting measures to protect pupils when the Federal Government reopen school nationwide.
WuzupNigeria reports that the President, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari [retd], had announced the closure of schools to curtail the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking at the annual ministerial press briefing of the state Ministry of Education on Tuesday, the Lagos State Commissioner for Education, Folasade Adefisayo, said although it was the FG that would decide when the schools, the state was putting in place measures to protect the pupils when the schools reopen.
“It is the Federal Government that will open the schools as they were the ones that closed the schools. Recall that the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 on Monday said schools remain closed.
“I can’t give you a date when schools will resume in Lagos, but we are working with development partners, ministries of Education across the country to come up with series of protocols on how we will be able to manage when we open schools.
“So, we are working behind the scene, we have a paper on the protocols and we will start to share as the paper is finally approved in a few days.
“There must be protocols that will address schools with large gatherings.
“There are many things we are thinking of, we are thinking about pupils not coming to school every day so that we will be able to spread the children across the whole school.
“Pupils don’t have to be in their class to learn, they can learn in a room with tables and chairs.”
Adefisayo added that a total of 3000 primary and secondary school teachers were recently absorbed into the teaching workforce of the Lagos State in a bid to boost the capacity of the existing workforce thereby providing quality education.
The Commissioner also pointed out that the Ministry had embarked on the construction and upgrading of Public Schools’ infrastructure across the state with the completion of six blocks of 92 classrooms in primary schools and three blocks of 54 classrooms in secondary schools in the state.
COVID-19: Final year students may write exams in July; bars, clubs and gym remain closed
The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Monday said final year students in its tertiary institutions may write their examination in July as the Federal Government begins the second phase of the gradual easing of restrictions placed on Nigerians over the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Chairman of the task force and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, who disclosed this at the PTF press briefing in Abuja, said the reopening of churches and mosques would be based on guidelines issued by the task force and protocols agreed on by states.
But the Coordinator of the PTF, Dr Sani Aliyu, noted that while markets would be opened and artisans could run their business, street hawking was prohibited.
Schools remain closed, final year students to prepare for exams
“All schools to remain closed until further evaluation. The Federal Ministry of Education is instructed to work with schools to start the process of preparing students that require exiting exams, to allow them to take exams early in the next phase of the lifting of the lockdown. But for the moment, schools are to remain closed.
“I have already mentioned places of worship. Restricted opening will apply subject to the guidelines issued by the PTF as well as the protocols agreed by respective state governments, working with religious leaders.
“Recreational parks and communal sports to remain closed until further evaluation.
He said for funerals, the task force was limiting the crowd to 20 people including family, with physical distancing adhered to, as well as hand washing.
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