The Federal Government has said issues around the ongoing industrial action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and other three university based unions are not as simple as Nigerians think.
The Minister of information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said this Wednesday while briefing State House reporters on the outcome of the virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He also announced that council approved the establishment of e-learning centers for primary schools across the 36 States of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
The ASUU had started strike on February 14, 2022, over unresolved issues with the federal government.
Subsequently, other university-based unions, the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), Non-Academic Union of Universities and Associated Institutions (NASU) as well as the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) also followed the path of ASUU over the alleged government insensitivity to their demands.
Mohammed, who was asked to explain the motive behind the approval given to the establishment of e-learning centers at a time the government was unable to resolve problems with unions in the public universities for the students to go back to school, said the issues with the unions were not as simple as many people thought.
He said the government was equally worried over the long closure of the public universities and was making frantic efforts to ensure that all the contentious issues were resolved.
The minister, who briefed on behalf of the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, said, “And then the other question has to do with the with ASUU strike. I think if I remember this e-learning, I think has to do more with primary schools and not universities.
“And I don’t think because we’re having challenges with the university lectures, we should stop primary school students in continuing with their education. And I wish that the ASUU issue is as simple as many of us think it is. I don’t think it’s that simple. But I want to assure you that a lot is going on behind the scenes.
And I think probably the Minister of Education will be better positioned to give the details. But like any government, if we’re not concerned, we would not set up all the committees which have been working on. If we are not concerned, we will not be looking for means to even assuage the feelings of the Union.
“We’re worried, we’re concerned, and we’ll continue to work towards finding an early resolution of the problem .”
On the approval by FEC, Mohammed said, “The Honourable Minister of Education has sought approval from Council for the award of contracts for the provision of a satellite- based education system for 109 e-learning centers across the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory.
The contract was for the sum of N964 million and is in favour of Messrs Nas Navigation. The purpose of the memo is to provide each senatorial district in the country with e-learning provision, each states has three senatorial districts and the FCT has one senatorial district
“The scope of the project is the provision of satellite based education system for about 4,360 users in the 109 senatorial districts and it was through the installation of 109 receiver satellite unit model antenna in three schools in each state.
“Installation and provision of 109 vast mile server in three schools in each state connecting up to 100 device installation of 109 server units for receiver terminals and deployment of 4,360 Android tablets.”