The Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) on Saturday urged the country‚Äôs former heads of states to mediate in the protracted ASUU strike.
Michael Olukoya, the National President of the NUT, who made the call in Abuja during the celebration of the 2013 World Teachers’ Day, stressed that the lack of intervention by well-meaning Nigerians had made the industrial action to linger on.
“Let us rebuild confidence into the negotiations by bringing powerful mediators or negotiators that enjoy the mutual confidence of the parties into the dispute.
“Any mediation by any of the former presidents and heads of states such as Olusegun Obasanjo, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, Gen. Abubakar Abdulsalami or Earnest Shonekan would break this logjam,” he said.
Olukoya, however, appealed to the striking university lecturers to be sensitive to the constraints and efforts of the Federal Government.
The NUT boss, nonetheless, urged the Federal Government to do everything within its powers to end the protracted crisis.
Besides, Olukoya said that the World Teachers’ Day celebration was another occasion to call on the National Assembly and the Federal Government to give primary education “a pride of place in our national life‚Äô‚Äô.
He rejected plans to cede the management of primary education to local government councils, saying that such proposals portended a great danger to the development of the sector.
He stressed that that local governments lacked the wherewithal, probity, and discipline to manage primary education.
Olukoya commended the Federal Government for shelving its earlier idea to divest its ownership of Federal Government Colleges under a Public-Private Partnership arrangement.
He, however, urged the Federal Government to initiate pragmatic efforts to restore the past glory of unity colleges and other secondary schools across the country.
He decried the lowering of JAMB cut-off marks for admission into teacher training institutions, adding that the entry qualifications should be higher or at least be at par with those of other professional courses.
“This is the only way to ensure high quality of teaching personnel in our schools,‚Äô‚Äô he said.
Also speaking, Nyesom Wike, the supervising Minister of Education, said that the promotion of the country‚Äôs economic growth and development rested squarely on the development and empowerment of quality teachers.
He urged teachers to avail themselves of the various career-development opportunities and welfare schemes provided by government, aimed at improving their commitment and competence.