The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and three other unions in Nigerian universities have asked the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency in the education system.
This was contained in a communiqu? by the presidents of the four unions ? ASUU), National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), Non-academic Staff Union of Universities and Associated Institutions (NASU) and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU)) ? at the end of one week National Education Summit in Abuja.
A copy of the statement was made available to reporters in Ibadan by the Ibadan Zonal Coordinator of ASUU, Prof. Olusegun Ajiboye.
The unions called for ?the reconceptualisation of the Nigerian education system? to enable it perform its transformative functions for the individuals, groups and the nation.
The unions vowed to develop and present to the government a new education policy, to reflect the aspirations, culture, values and realities of the people within the context of a vibrant world.
According to the unions, there was need for the government to declare a state of emergency in the education system, because ?the current system is characterised by chronic underfunding, bad leadership, and infrastructural decay, poor conditions of learning and service, promotion of mediocrity, shortage of personnel (academic, technical and administrative) and entrenchment of orthodoxy, parochialism and chauvinism?.
The four unions, which held the summit with the theme, ?Towards a system of education for liberation in Nigeria,? warned the government not to use public funds, such as Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Petroleum Trust Development Fund (PTDF) among others, to fund private educational institutions and associated enterprises.
While condemning corruption, lack of professionalism, poor and opportunistic leadership and unethical conduct impinging on the learning environment and the integrity of teaching and research, the unions called on their members nationwide to rid the sector of these ills.
While rejecting the systematic privatisation of education and selling off of public educational institutions, the unions described education as public good, which must not be left in the hands of private individuals who are driven solely by profit.
The unions added: ?The fundamental problem bedevilling the educational system is that it is located within a philosophical and political economic system which emphasises personal self-enrichment and individual aggrandisement instead of emphasising knowledge acquisition geared towards public good and national development.
?The philosophy on education does not address the realities, identities, values, customs and aspirations of the Nigerian people.?