By; MOHAMMED KAWU, Bauchi
The Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) has commended the federal government for showing commitment towards addressing the challenges bedeviling colleges of education in the country.
The Vice President and Northeast zonal coordinator of the union, Mohammed Bello Umar told the press in Bauchi Friday that it was not the intention of the union to embark on the seven-week strike, but after failed visits, lobbying and efforts made to draw the attention of the federal government in addressing the lingering issues, the union had no choice than to embark on the strike to revive education at the basic level.
Umar recalled that the union gave the federal government a window of two months to do the needful and implement all the grey areas raised by the union, adding that the government so far has shown some level of commitment which he described as very encouraging.
“There were a lot of reasons that necessitated COEASU to embark on strike. First is the issue of the conditional scheme of service. These documents are usually reviewed after every five years in order to meet up with the contemporary challenges, but unfortunately, the document we are using was produced in 2010, which is over a decade. We insisted that the federal government should champion the review of the document, but the government remained adamant.”
“In 2010, the federal government formed a presidential committee to go round colleges of education, universities and polytechnics to know their challenges. The committee after going round discovered that colleges of education requires not less than N400 billion for their revitalization, but unfortunately, not a single Kobo has been released. The federal government later promised to release N15 billion out of the money which have been approved, sooner or later, the government will disburse it into the institutions.”
“As per the issue of renegotiation, already, the federal government has formed a committee under former executive Secretary of the National commission of the colleges of education (NCCE), Professor Kabir Ishaque with three other professors drawn from the University system and a representation from the federal government”.
“The renegotiation went on smoothly and we have reached a position at that level, including new allowances for teachers and new salary packages that will meet up with the contemporary challenges” he said.
On issue of condition scheme of service, the Vice-president of the union stated that the federal government has formed a committee that will meet with the union in Nasarawa State with the aim of coming up with a new conditional scheme of service that will address all the needs in the colleges of education system.
It would ould be recalled that COEDASU had earlier embarked on a strike over what it’s described as lackadaisical attitude of the government in handling problems concerning the Nigerian colleges of Education.