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ASUU, SSANU reject planned downgrade of varsities


ASUU-LOGOMEMBERS of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) chapters at the Federal University of Education, Kano, have described as uncalled for the Federal Government’s recent plan to revisit the upgrade of some specialised colleges of education to universities.

The past administration had approved the upgrade of four colleges of education to full-pledged federal universities of education to create more platforms for degree-awarding institutions in education and enhance standard and quality of the teaching profession.

Addressing journalists shortly after an emergency congress at the university’s premises, ASUU Chairman, Dr. Abubakar Sadiq Haruna, accused the former provosts of the four former colleges of conniving with some government power agents to thwart President Muhammadu Buhari’s acceptance of the new universities.

Haruna disclosed that within the two months of its upgrade, the university authority had inaugurated five faculties with several departments and functional senate committees to evaluate existing academic structure, and has since commenced the process of quota-based admission in line with the requirements of the National Universities Commission (NUC).

He wondered why a few elements with selfish interests would be peddling falsehood to misinform the Presidency over a well-conceived development that would largely reduce the burden on other universities.

“We feel that the President must have been misinformed on the objectives for which the colleges were upgraded. The damage this decision would do to host communities is better imagined,” he said.

“The plot to revert this development, in our opinion, is unpatriotic, counter-productive, obnoxious and retrogressive. As you may be aware, NCE used to be the minimum teaching qualification after Grade II Teacher Certificate was phased out in Nigeria.

“The nation has reached a stage when university degree in education would become the minimum qualification for teaching in national teacher education policy.”

He maintained that the university should have no major difficulty in capital funding and intellectual capacity due to its existing structure, adding that the institution was not strange to university structure after running various degree programmes in affiliation with other universities.

“Prior to the upgrade, the Federal University of Education, Kano, had 4,500 undergraduates running degree programmes in affiliation with Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, and the University of Nigeria, Nsuka. Presently, we have 5500 NCE students to which we can sustain the carrying capacity.”

He added: “In 2014, the old college collected N600 million special intervention grant from TETFUND, with another N250 million in June this year. All have been prudently managed on renovation of structures and academic facilities, as well as the construction of new academic and administrative facilities. The existing infrastructural backbone can support the new university in the next few years.”

More so, he said the upgrade would provide applicants from Kano, Jigawa and other states in the catchment areas access to tertiary education. Therefore, the unions urged President Buhari to find appreciable position in the matter, insisting that the upgrade was even long overdue.

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