The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says it is collaborating with the Bauchi State Government to tackle the challenges of out-of-school children in the state.
Mr Bhanu Pathak, Chief Field Officer, UNICEF Nigeria, Bauchi Field Office, made the assertion in Bauchi on Thursday.
Pathak spoke at a Stakeholders and Sensitisation Meeting on Household Mapping and Enumeration of Out-of-School Children’’ across the eight local government areas of the state.
Represented by Mr Amos Kudzala, UNICEF’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Specialist, Pathak said UNICEF was partnering the state government to improve education outcomes in the state.
“This is to contribute toward addressing the challenges of out-of -children in Bauchi State.
“UNICEF has a vision to collaborate with government institutions and stakeholders to find solutions that will result in getting the out-of-school children back to school.
“To do that, we have to identify where those out-of-school children are, hence, the household mapping and enumeration of out-of-school children exercise we have supported the government to embark upon,” Pathak said.
He said findings from the household mapping and enumeration would also provide the basis for resource allocation and implementation of certain activities.
The UNICEF field officer said: “Stakeholders and youths will be engaged to ensure effective awareness and mobilisation of parents, guardians, communities, religious and traditional school-based management committee on the importance of school age children enrolment.’’
In his remarks, Alhaji Nura Ahmed, Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), emphasised the importance of mapping enumeration of out-of-school children.
According to him, the statistics have shown that the state has 1.3 million children out-of-school, which is outrageous and alarming.
He said as stakeholders, “We have a responsibility to find out the reason for the outrageous number of out-of-school children and what to do to reduce the number.’’
Ahmed commended UNICEF for providing the state government the opportunity to get children enrolled in schools and for effective partnership.
The SUBEB director pledged his necessary cooperation toward improving and educating children at all levels in the state.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that participants at the event were drawn from eight local government areas of Bauchi, Toro, Kirfi, Alkaleri, Ganjuwa , Ningi, Warji and Darazo.
Unilorin NASU, SSANU join 5-day warning strike
The University of Ilorin Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU) and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), on Monday, joined the five days warning strike.
Nigeria News Agency reports that following the directives of the National body to embark on a five-day warning strike, workers were prevented entry into the University by the unions in solidarity to the call for the warning strike.
Speaking in an interview with NAN on the issue, Mr Mohammed Akanbi, the Chairman of SSANU, University of Ilorin Chapter, alleged that the non-teaching staff unions were shortchanged in the sharing formula in Earned Allowance.
According to him, a sum of N82.4 billion was meant for the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASSU) alone, while N4.2billion is left for non-teaching staffs.
“This was considered inappropriate and we protested to the government that this is not acceptable,’’ he said.
Akanbi said that Federal Government promised to provide platform for dialogue to solve issues on ground, but government is yet to initiate any dialogue with union leaders.
He observed that the warning strike is to ensure that government release the N30 billion meant for the non-teaching staffs of Nigerian Universities, as well as emolument reviews, spanning through five years among others.
“Until these agitations are met by the government, the unions will not relent in their efforts,’’ he said.
NAN recalls that the unions had embarked on a nationwide strike on Dec. 4, 2017, due to failure of government to address their grievances.
The strike was, however, suspended in March 2018.
Non-teaching staff strike paralyses activities at UNN
Administrative activities were brought to a halt on Monday at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, when non-teaching staff of the institution joined the nationwide five-day warning strike.
Nigeria News Agency reports that the workers, operating under the aegis of Joint Action committee (JAC), were asking the Federal Government to release N30b for the payment of earned allowances for members in public universities.
The striking workers were also demanding the “Re-negotiating of 2009 agreement with Federal Government and integrating of University primary school teachers into government payroll.”
Speaking during the UNN congress, the Chairman of UNN-JAC, Mr Paul Eruah, said that the warning strike commenced on Monday and asked the non-teaching staff of the institution to go home.
Eruah said that the 14-day ultimatum issued to the federal government by JAC national secretariat expired on Aug. 18.
“After this congress, go home and come back on Monday, August 27, when we will declare an indefinite nationwide strike, if the federal government fails to yield to our demand,” he said.
He said that the union had set up a monitoring committee to ensure strict compliance with the strike, adding that defaulters would be sanctioned.
“Any non-teaching staff seen in any office will be sanctioned. Do not be afraid of victimisation from government or university management because the national body is behind you,” he said.
Eruah said that the essence of the action was to force the government to meet their demand.
A cross-section of the students interviewed by NAN urged the federal government and relevant stakeholders to quickly intervene to resolve the problem.
The respondents warned that an indefinite strike by non-teaching staff would adversely affect the current academic calendar.
NAN reports that no fewer than 1000 non-teaching staff in UNN attended the congress.
(Edited by Sam Oditah)
Strike: We have 95 per cent compliance- Chairman, SSANU, UI
Mr Wale Akinremi, the Chairman, Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), University of Ibadan, says there is 95 per cent compliance on the five days warning strike directive by its national body.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that Akinremi made this disclosure in Ibadan on Monday while speaking on the resolve of SSANU and Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) determination to get government attention on their three points demand.
“The non-teaching staff in the federal universities in Nigeria are on strike because of the failure of the government to listen to our plea and our position on the welfare of staff as well as development of the universities.
“Specifically, we have three issues that we are dragging; one is on our agreement with the government since 2009 on the monetary aspect, but government has not been attending to our request.
“Secondly, on the issue of the university staff school teachers, they were erroneously sacked by the government; we protested at that time, government took us to court and we got judgement in favour of the teachers but till date, government has yet to implement the judgement.
“These teachers are languishing in penury; the pupils don’t know what becomes of their future. The staff schools have produced ministers, senators and professors among others. The onus is on us to make sure that our institutions thrive.
“Thirdly, in that agreement, it is stated that we should be meeting every three years to review the position to know how far we have gone or if we are not moving at all and what we can do to move forward.
“It is not all about money, the whole world should know that we are not only asking for money”.
Also, Mr Malachy Etim, the NASU chairman UI, said all members of NASU are eager to comply because their welfare needs to be improved upon.
“If there is any lecture going on, it is the work of the lecturers as teaching is not our responsibility. We have locked some classrooms but some lecturers have the key, so they can open them.
“But offices are under lock. We are telling the federal government that failure to call us to a roundtable, we will declare an indefinite strike and close down all the universities,” he said.
NAN reports that the Univerisity of Ibadan gate was heavily guarded by security agents both by the men of the Nigerian Police Force and that of the Department of State Services.
NAN also reports that there were no vehicular movement into the campus as the gate was partially barricaded with mats spread across the road by the unions on strike.
However, some of the students who spoke with NAN on grounds of anonymity, said some of them had lectures while some said they were unable to get access into their classrooms.
Former minister, NAPTAN, call for industrial harmony in varsities as SSANU begins warning strike
A former Minister of Education, Prof. Chinwe Obaji, and the Second Deputy National President, National Parent-Teacher Association of Nigeria (NAPTAN), Chief Adeolu Ogunbanjo, have called for a lasting industrial harmony in universities.
They made the call as the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Unions (NASU) began a nationwide warning strike on Monday.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that non-teaching university workers under the aegis of the Joint Action Committee (JAC) are protesting non-implementation of an agreement they entered into with the Federal Government in 2009, among other issues.
Obaji said that universities, together with the Federal Government and the general public, must seek ways to ensure production of quality graduates to boost the country’s economy.
“I think this infighting between labour unions and the Federal Government must be reviewed now to give room for serious work in re-engineering and repositioning academic activities in our ivory towers,” he said.
According to her, it is high time the `embarrassing’ quality of graduates churned out annually by universities should bother education stakeholders.
“We should stop all these back and forth issues and concern ourselves more with how to produce quality graduates that will one day be leaders of this country.
“Quality education remains the key driver of any country’s economy, and this can only work if we come together as a people and find a way of achieving this, rather than this strike all the time.
“Perhaps it should worry us the more that it was discovered recently that some persons who ought to be mobilised for the NYSC were allegedly unable to read the English alphabets,” she said.
Obaji told NAN that Nigerians must task themselves on quality service delivery in their various capacities.
Commenting, Ogunbanjo said that strikes in the university system had become too many, urging urgent interventions to save the system from collapse.
According to him, the Federal Government should adequately tackle issues relating to strikes in the education sector.
He said that strikes had impacted negatively on the entire university system, noting that students were usually at the receiving end.
“The moment it tries to seek a way out to reach a common ground with one labour union in the system, it is only natural that the other one will feel cheated, and so tries to make its own demands.
“So, if government feels that only a certain labour union in the system deserves something, it should come out and defend its action, and if not, it should tell them as it is, once and for all.
“ Should there be the need for a negotiation, it should be done with parties concerned, with all commitment and sincerity of purpose,’’ the NAPTAN boss said.
Meanwhile the National President of SSANU, Mr Samson Ugwoke, told NAN in
an interview that members of the unions had been fully mobilised to ensure total compliance to the five-day warning strike.
“We are fully ready for the strike, and there is no going back on that.
“The strike is going to be total from Monday, Aug. 19, to Friday, Aug. 23.
“We had given the Federal Government a 14-day ultimatum to meet our demands, but it elapsed with nothing coming forth from the side of government.
“From Monday, therefore, we shall embark on this warning strike, and if nothing meaningful comes out of it, we will stategise to embark on an indefinite, comprehensive and total nationwide strike,’’ the unionist warned.
According to him, our members are still open to further negotiations with government before the end of the warning strike.
Ugwoke, also the President of the JAC, appealed to education stakeholders to prevail on the Federal Government to meet JAC’s demands.
NAN reports that JAC is demanding payment of some allowances and recall of its members who were sacked from the various staff schools of federal universities, among others.
“We have got judgment over the staff school issue in our favour. This judgment was got since Dec. 6, 2016, but up until now, none of our members who were affected has been reinstated.
“This is not going to continue,’’ he said.
Gov. Bello promises to initiate policies, programmes for rapid educational transformation in Kogi
The governor stated this while receiving Senior Academics in the state at his residence in Okene, Kogi.
He said the State Government had put up plans to hold education summit, tagged: “Kogi State Education Summit” as part of strategies to improve education development in the state.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the state government had on Jan. 22, 2018, organised a maiden state education summit to address issues affecting the sector, and achievements of Government Policy Thrust documents of the State’s New Direction Blueprint.
According to Bello, without education, he will not be where he is at the moment as governor, emphasising that education is the major tool for rapid socio-economic development of any society.
He reiterated that the education summit would act as a catalyst that would spur government into fashioning policies and programmes to bring about rapid education transformation in the state.
”The summit will have a core mandate of bringing together all stakeholders such as parents, students, heads and staff of universities, polytechnics, colleges of education, policy makers, researchers and scientists, among others.
”This will be done to educate and sensitise the general public to the challenges of education and proffering solutions to such challenges,” he said.
The governor said that the summit would sensitise the people to the importance of education for individuals and and the society in general.
He, therefore, called on Kogi born Scientists and Academics in Diaspora to find ways of improving education in the state.
The don assured the governor that the summit would be a vehicle for education development in the state.
Other members of the group on the visit are: Prof. Godwin Agbo, Prof Suleiman Salihu and Prof A. Tenuche, among others.
Edited by Chioma Ugboma and Abdullahi Yusuf