‘IPPIS controversy unnecessary’
Education Rights Campaign (ERC) has described the controversy generated around the implementation of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) in the public universities as needless and distracting.
National Coordinator of the group, Hassan Taiwo Soweto, said the drama was unnecessary considering the huge challenges confronting university education in the country.
He said, “The controversy was unnecessary and diversionary especially considering the enormous challenges of underfunding, skyrocketing tuition fees and a clampdown on democratic rights facing the education sector. On the basis of the foregoing, we demand that the Federal Government should not throw the educational system into a needless crisis by going ahead to stop the salary of lecturers who are opposed to the IPPIS, as such a step will provoke a strike, which would lead to another shutdown of the system.
While admitting that there is a high level of corruption in the university system, Soweto maintained that implementation of IPPIS, without democratic control and management of schools, will not in any way curb corruption.
“If a serious and diligent investigation is carried out into the activities of universities and other educational institutions, many vice-chancellors, rectors and provosts alongside with other principal officers and account officers and members of the governing councils would be found guilty. However, we do not believe that the IPPIS on its own is capable of curbing corruption and ensuring sanity, transparency and accountability not just in the public education system but also the MDAs where it has been introduced.
“We believe that only the democratic management of public schools by elected representatives of workers, students, parents and communities can begin to curb corruption in the educational system and ensure that every kobo voted actually reflects in progress of the sector. This means the governing councils of universities and boards of other educational institutions have to be reconstituted to ensure workers and students have a say and they are the ones who decide how money is spent,” he said.
Questing the moral rights of the present administration in fighting the so-called corruption, Soweto stressed, “In the hands of a capitalist government whose officials are themselves corrupt, the IPPIS will not automatically achieve the expected outcome of curbing corruption. Rather it will only shift the centre of corruption and manipulation of the payroll system from the governing councils of the respective universities to the offices of the Accountant General of the Federation, Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“Therefore for us in the ERC, only the democratic management of schools by workers and students can begin to resolve the problem of accountability. An IPPIS deployed in this condition would only serve as a technological reinforcement for workers, students and other stakeholders in their effort to fight corruption.
He urged ASUU to deepen its argument beyond just the question of defending university autonomy or the so-called uniqueness of the university environment, by boldly demanding the democratic control and management of schools as the only effective way to ensure that any measure aimed at curbing corruption in the university system works.