In the interest of students, President Buhari has urged the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to call off the present strike.
On Thursday, May 12, the President made the statement while speaking at the 19th National Productivity Day and the presentation of the National Productivity Order of Merit Award (NPOM) to 48 eminent Nigerians and organizations from the public and private sectors for their high productivity, hard work, and excellence.
According to a statement made by his media aide, Femi Adesina, the President encouraged ASUU to consider students’ predicament and students in public tertiary institutions to be patient.
He said the government had continued to work within the constraints of available resources to address niggling concerns in the nation’s university system.
The President recalled that he had previously directed the Chief of Staff, as well as the Hon. Ministers of Labor and Employment, Education, Finance, Budget, and National Planning, to bring all parties to the negotiating table as soon as possible to revisit the grey areas in ASUU’s and other university-based labor unions’ demands.
President Buhari said that the federal government would continue to do everything in its power to improve the country’s educational system. He stated that his administration understood that a country’s destiny was determined by the quality of its educational system.
‘‘Therefore, if we desire to transform Nigeria into a competitive, strong, vibrant, productive and sustainable economy, improving our educational system should be accorded the highest priority.’’
The President said it would be difficult to improve our economic performance and overall productivity without improving the educational system.
According to him, “Government notes the emergency situation in our educational system with particular reference to the dearth of qualified and dedicated teachers to enhance the quality of teaching and learning at all levels of our educational system”.
To address these challenges, President Buhari said his administration has reviewed the retirement age of teachers from 60 to 65 years, while years of service have now been moved from 35 to 40 years to encourage more graduates to join the teaching profession.
The President said the government had also approved a special salary scale for teachers in Basic and Secondary schools including provisions for rural posting allowance, Science teachers allowance, and peculiar allowance while prioritizing timely promotion and prompt payment of salaries.