The federal government has again pleaded with the striking members of the Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) to shelve their six-month-old strike and return to the classroom in the interest of the nation.
The supervising Minister of Education, Chief Nyesom Wike, reiterated this plea when he inaugurated the Technical Committee on the Dual Mode with Regards to Degree Awarding Status by Colleges of Education, in Abuja yesterday.
He added that the inauguration of the committee which is expected to provide recommendations on how CoEs can award both National Certificate on Education (NCE) and Bachelor of Education Degree should assure the union of the government’s commitment to resolve all issues that led to the strike.
“It is not in the interest of anybody that our students are at home. We must be ready to make sacrifices so that our children can go back to school. It is dangerous for everyone if these children turn to crime,” he said.
Wike lauded the union for its non-confrontational stance in its disagreement with the government.
“Nobody is saying you are not right, but I plead with you, having inaugurated this committee today, that we put egos aside and return to school,” he added.
The minister told the committee headed by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr. MacJohn Nwabiala, that the government would not grant any extension from the four weeks it had been given to present its report.
The committee is made up of representatives of COEASU, Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), National Universities Commission (NUC), National Academy of Education, Budget Office, National Commission for Colleges of Education and others.
The Chairman of COEASU, Mr. Asagha Okoro, while speaking with journalists after the inauguration, said the government had to show more faith towards resolving the strike by releasing the three months salary arrears which have been with held under the ‘no work, no pay’ policy.
In another development, the
Director General of the National Mathematical Centre (NMC), Prof. Adewale Solarin, has warned that the shortage of mathematics and English teachers would not help the education sector.
Solarin, speaking at the opening of a two-week capacity building workshop for English and mathematics teachers of Federal Unity Colleges in Abuja, yesterday, said the current ratio of mathematics teachers to students at the basic school level stands at 1:350
“Consequently, the performance of senior secondary school students in public examinations like WAEC, NECO and JAMB has been poor, a development which has serious negative implications for candidates’ admissions into tertiary institutions in particular and national development at large,” he said.