Polytechnics teachers may go on strike over agreement
There are indications that academic activities in the polytechnics may be disrupted as the teachers are considering proceeding on an industrial action over non-implementation of the 2009 agreement with the Federal Government.
Speaking in Abuja recently over the non-implementation of the ASUP_FGN 2009/2010 agreement, the President of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), Usman Yusuf Dutse, explained that government has not resolve the 13 points demands that were placed before it which necessitated the three months industrial action of July, 2014.
Dutse added: “Since the suspension of that strike, none of the contending issues has been resolved by Government. What we have rather is the addition of new problems to the myriad of existing ones. The scenario obviously suggests that the coming years will be grim and marked by sluggish growth and total neglect of the sector.”
The ASUP President stressed that the union has constantly mourned the underfunding of the education sector in Nigeria, the dilapidating infrastructure, deprecate working environment, massive brain drain and unstable policies.
He explained that the in the overall underfunding of the education sector, the Polytechnic sub-sector is the worst hit in terms of low budgetary allocation, discrimination and total neglect, saying most polytechnics in Nigeria lack the capacity to deliver their mandate and to contribute to the technological development of the nation.
Dutse said from 1999 to 2013, the total budget of the country was 35.133 trillion, with education taking only 3.128 trillion, indicating 8.28%.
He submitted: “These are the funds to be expended on 40 Federal Universities, 21 Federal Polytechnics, 22 Colleges of Education and 104 Unity Colleges, summing up to 187 ‘functional’ Federal Institutions that were available at that time. The 2015 and 2016 budgetary allocations to the sector neither provided the required respite for development of education in the country.
In 2016 budget for example, it is perplexing to note that the allocation made for Library development in the Office of the Vice President is far above the total allocation made for Library development for all the 25 Federal Polytechnics in Nigeria. This pathetic condition of funding of education over the years has made the prescribed UNESCO benchmark of 26% annual budgetary allocation to education for developing nations only but mythical and ridiculous.”
The union also flayed the non-passage of the Polytechnic Act and review of scheme of service.
Dutse stressed that the current Polytechnic Act, which was last reviewed in 1993 is obsolete and therefore replete with structural inadequacies and ambiguous provisions that requires overhauling to be in tune with the prevailing realities.
“These flaws have made it consistently cumbersome for the Act to meet the challenges of governing polytechnic education in the world today and have been responsible for poor governance and waste in the system. Efforts to get the bill passed in the last National Assembly failed and the weak Polytechnic Act is still been awfully used to govern our institutions with all its inadequacies,” he said.