The Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities CVCNU has called on the Federal and State Governments to break the unending circles of university-based labour unions unrest that had been going on for more than 30 years.
The Vice-Chancellors also called for a consistent Academic calendar saying that the Nigerian public Universities would not take their pride in place globally and regionally if the country cannot guarantee its academic schedules.
The Chairman of the Committee of the Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities, Professor Samuel Edoumiekumo, made the call during a meeting with the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities ASUU, on issues affecting the University education in Nigeria.
The CVCNU Chairman, who was accompanied by the Secretary-General of the Committee, Professor Yakubu Ochefu, formally congratulated Prof Osodeke on his emergence as National President acknowledged the efforts of ASUU as regards championing the repositioning of University higher education in Nigeria.
Professor Edoumiekumo stated that as key stakeholders in the Nigerian University system, it was important that from time to time, both parties meet to discuss local and global best practices in University education, innovative ways of confronting and managing challenges and deep thinking on the future of the Nigerian university system.
“There is the need for the Federal and State governments to take the bull by the horn to break the unending circles of university-based labour unions unrest that had been going on for more than 30 years by thinking creative solutions and resolving politically to implement such solutions”
He x-rayed some of the current challenges facing university education in Nigeria such as poor funding, issues of autonomy of universities amongst others.
“Our universities are faced with very poor funding such that a gap of 221 billion naira has been incurred yearly from 2018 to 2021; problems associated with the implementation of IPPIS in Federal Universities; Autonomy of Universities, and the presence of several conflicting laws; the current status of the FG/University-based unions’ agreements; the lingering problem with the unions on IPPIS; and the poor state of security on university campuses”
The Chairman presented a report produced by CVCNU on the “Review of 2022 National Budget as it affects Nigerian Federal Universities” to the ASUU that highlights some of the thinking on addressing the funding challenges in Nigerian Universities.
Professor Edoumiekumo, in the course of the meeting, informed the National President that the Committee of Vice-Chancellors, in its fight against plagiarism and promoting originality in academic research, had developed the EagleScan Plagiarism Detection Software.
He stated that like University Transparency Accountability Software, UTAS, Eaglescan was developed by the CVCNU in conjunction with Directors of ICT of six Nigerian Universities and was now fully ready for adoption in all Nigerian Tertiary Institutions.
CVCNU Chairman also shared with ASUU the draft of a Model Intellectual Policy for Nigerian Universities, developed in conjunction with the Nigerian Copy Right Commission and requested to have ASUU’s inputs before the final draft is presented to universities in 2022.
The National President of ASUU Professor Victor Osodeke applauded the Leadership of CVCNU for initiating the meeting and expressed the desire of the Union to work with all genuine actors that will add value and make Nigerian universities better.
He lamented that a gulf had emerged in CVCNU/ASUU relations in recent times but was pleased by the meeting which he hoped would go a long way in forging closer ties
He noted all the issues raised by the CVCNU Chairman and that an appropriate response would be communicated to the Committee in due course.
He expressed deep appreciation for the meeting and looked forward to both organizations working together to reposition Nigerian universities in these volatile, unstable, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) times.
“I look forward to a meeting between ASUU and CVCNU in the first quarter of 2022 to discuss the broader issues raised by the CVCNU”
According to him, Vice-Chancellors were very critical stakeholders in the University system, but that over the years, many of them have seen their roles and powers eroded by third party bodies leaving them to function as political office holders rather than University administrators.
He expressed worry about the politicization in the appointment of Vice-Chancellors and how in some instances, the choice of who becomes a VC is narrowed down to the local government of the state that the University was located.
The meeting was attended by former ASUU Presidents Dipo Fasina, Nasir Fagge, Biodun Ogunyemi and other members of the National Executive Committee.
Vice-Chancellors seek end to University-based labour unrest