The Save Public Education Campaign, an NGO, says it will lead a national mass protest to bring an end to the incessant strikes by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The Convener of the group, Ms Vivian Bello, made this known at a news conference in Abuja on Monday.
Bello said that the plight of Nigerian children cuts across every nooks and crannies of the country hence women were mostly at the receiving end, adding that it was only people’s will that could defeat attacks on public education.
“Education is non-negotiable as there is no alternative to it. The insecurity we are experiencing today is traceable to the failure of the education sector.
“We have watched with total awe and abhorrence the near total collapse of Tertiary Education in Nigeria.
“Distressing statistics show that ASUU has been on strike for a total of over 725 days, since the beginning of this administration over issues that bother largely on poor welfare, university autonomy and lack of adequate funding for universities.
“When tallied inversely, this amounts to an entire two and half years’ loss, in the educational lives of innocent Nigerian children/students in public universities across the country.
“It did not end there; The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics and Colleges of Education, ASUP and COEASU are all also currently on strike on similar issues as ASUU.
“We all can see clearly, that this is an all-round collapse of the tertiary education in the country,” she said.
Bello also called on government to devote the action and attention or resources needed to tackle the strike in the country’s tertiary education.
She expressed concern over the 2022 budgetary allocation of N1.29 trillion or 7.9 per cent for education, saying that this was a far-cry from UNESCO’s standard recommendation of 26 per cent minimum.
She, therefore, said that this meagre allocation to the sector underscored the lip service paid to education which impact was now directly seen in the teeming mass of young people engaging in crime.
“We make bold to say that if government will change strategy and invest a greater proportion of the resources it is expending in the insecurity campaign in providing robust, efficient and quality educational system, within a calculated period of time, insecurity will gradually die a natural death.
“In order words, we submit boldly that education can be a veritable panacea to insecurity in Nigeria.
“In the light of the foregoing therefore, we unequivocally demanding that the negotiation process of the strike action, including as led by the Prof. Nimi Briggs committee, be immediately concluded and signed.
“The IPPIS has been specifically described and pointed out with evidence by the striking academic unions as problematic, inconsistent and fraudulent.
“The platform should therefore be set aside while the proposed more credible alternatives; UTAS, U3PS deployed accordingly,” she added.
The convener further called for the immediate payment of all withheld salaries of the striking academic unions, while also calling for a properly public funded education at all levels.
Also, the Co-convener, Mr Dimeji Macaulay said that the organisation was waiting for the outcome of ASUU meeting with the government before declaring a 14-days ultimatum for the government and ASUU to end the strike.
Macaulay said that the organisation was inspired by the consistencies of strikes leading to students engaging in criminal activities as a result of failure to be in school.
He said that in spite of the resources to give Nigerian children free and quality education, over 1.5 million students were at home unproductive in the last four months, a situation that must be looked into.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Save Public Education Campaign is a Nigerian Civic Coalition aimed at upholding the educational rights of the citizens. (NAN)