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Improve funding of varsities, pro-challencellors urge FG, states

By Adelowo Adebumiti (Lagos) and Ernest Nzor (Abuja)
15 September 2022   |   3:58 am
Committee of Pro-Chancellors of State-owned Universities (COPSUN) has called on the Federal and state governments to sustain international best practices by increasing funding

[FILES] Ngige. PHOTO/FACEBOOK/NLCHQ

Committee of Pro-Chancellors of State-owned Universities (COPSUN) has called on the Federal and state governments to sustain international best practices by increasing funding for universities and enhancing the welfare of the workforce.

The body also advised state governments to exercise restraint in establishing new institutions but to invest heavily in existing ones for quality infrastructure.

The committee made the call in a communiqué signed by the secretary, Marcus Awobifa, issued at the end of its 57th quarterly meeting in Abuja, where it reviewed the state of the nation, particularly the ongoing Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) indefinite strike.

COPSUN equally urged the political class to pay more attention to education via improved budgetary allocations.

The group appealed to various political parties jostling for power to initiate reforms for a better sector.

Speaking on the protracted ASUU industrial action, COPSUN expressed sadness over the development, stating the damage had disrupted the university system.

While noting that the university system has lost over 50 months to strikes since 1999, the group said it is relieved that the Federal Government agrees that state universities have the right to adopt or reject agreements reached with ASUU by the central government because education is on the concurrent legislative list.

COPSUN, however, reiterated that it would not be coerced to adopt any agreement to which it was not a party.

It pledged that state-owned universities would continue to negotiate with their employees in accordance with the terms and conditions of their engagements.

It is observed that the development has forced many lecturers to seek greener pastures abroad.

Executive Director AYGF, Dr. Arome Salifu, at a press briefing, in Abuja, pleaded with the government and stakeholders negotiate for a peaceful resolution.

The Prof. Nimi Briggs committee, set up by the government, went a whole hog in solving the issue.

Salifu advised students to register for online courses to update themselves on skills and become productive as negotiations progress.

He implored ASUU to consider finding a middle ground during negotiations.