The federal government Thursday appealed to lecturers in the Federal Polytechnics and Colleges of Education to call off their seven-month-old strike, assuring them that it was working hard to address their issues.
Speaking at a retreat for the Governing Councils of Federal Polytechnics and Federal Colleges of Education in Kaduna, the Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike, said the federal government was working hard to resolve the issues.
Wike said the federal government had set up a committee to resolve the dichotomy between holders of the Higher National Diploma (HND) and university degree.
The polytechnic lecturers, under the aegis of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), had in October last year embarked on industrial action.
The minister added that the committee was set up last week and is being headed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator Anyim Pius Anyim.
The committee had already met with the leaders of the union, he added.
Resolving the dichotomy is one of the 11 demands of the striking union which resumed its strike in October 2013.
Other key issues are the payment of N40 billion arrears for migration to CONTISS 15, setting up of a National Polytechnics Commission and release of the White Paper of the Visitation Panel to the Institutions.
According to a statement by the Special Assistant Media to the minister, Mr. Simeon Nwakaudu, the issue would be resolved in no distant time.
Wike added that other demands had also been resolved as the issue of the release of white paper for the visitation panels to Federal Polytechnics and Federal Colleges of Education was being concluded at the office of the SGF.
He appealed to the chairmen of the Governing Councils of both Federal Polytechnics and Federal Colleges of Education to assist by deploying their relevant skills towards resolving the ongoing strike actions.
"Permit me to call on our lecturers to call-off their protracted strike to enable academic activities commence in the polytechnics and Colleges of Education. Let us show understanding with the government and the challenges before it and call-off the strike. We acknowledge the importance of teacher education and polytechnic education and as responsible government we will not down-play their roles in national development and prosperity," Wike said.
He also urged the unions to reciprocate the gesture of President Goodluck Jonathan by calling off their strike and resuming academic work in the interest of the nation.
The Chairman of Committee of Chairmen of Governing Councils of Federal Polytechnics, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, called on the union to resume work in line with commitments made by President Jonathan to develop the education sector.
The retreat was being attended by chairmen of Governing Councils of Federal Polytechnics and Colleges of Education. Also in attendance were Rectors, Provosts and officials of National Board of Technical Education, National Commission for Colleges of Education and Federal Ministry of Education.