By Maryam Garba Hassan
Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar has hailed the decision of the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) to suspend its 10 months’ old strike which has left Polytechnic students across the country out of classrooms.
The former Vice-President, in a statement signed by his media office in Abuja yesterday, welcomed the opportunity for students to return to their campuses.
He urged the federal government to take a holistic approach in solving the problem of educational development in the country, through the convocation of a National Education Summit.
According to him, the unwholesome situation whereby government and lecturers will continue to trade blames while the future of the youths remains on a pause is to say the least, unacceptable.
Abubakar said, through the convocation of a national summit on education issues relating to building more capacity for the country’s tertiary institutions of learning will be addressed, the statement added.
“It is noteworthy that the issue of funding is very germaine to the management of our public sector education; and so, both government and practitioners in our public education system must come to terms with the parameters of the existing budgetary allocation for education and also create new methods of sourcing funds. They must do this without causing harm to the future of our youths,” Atiku said.
He said gaining from his experience of running a world-class university in his home state of Adamawa, there are far greater challenges facing the Nigerian tertiary education system beyond the issue of funding.
He listed those issues to include capacities to measure and report quality of education on a school-by-school basis, to hold each school accountable for learning and morals, to recruit and retain the best teachers, failure to tap into the world of Information Technology to boost teachings and the inherent disconnect between the ivory towers and the national economy.
Meanwhile, the former Vice President has described Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka as a man of extraordinary courage and a credible social critic that created a big space for himself in the hearts of Nigerians.
In a statement from Atiku, on the occasion of Soyinka’s 80th birthday, the former Vice President said he always admired Soyinka’s patriotism and courage to speak freely and honestly on public issues.
According to Atiku, “Soyinka is an inimitable and indomitable social critic who never hesitated to criticize Nigeria’s leaders whenever he believes they were going wrong.”
He said the Nobel Laureate looks at national issues beyond ethnic and regional sentiments.
Abubakar added that the Nobel Laureate is always on the side of the ordinary Nigerians.