Paschal Emeka, Abuja
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila has charged education stakeholders including members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to chart ways to improve the tertiary education sector in Nigeria.
Gbajabiamila said this while hosting members of the House of Representatives and education stakeholders at a two-day National Summit on Tertiary Education Reform which commenced in Abuja on Tuesday.
The summit was themed, ‘Reimagining Tertiary Education in Nigeria: Issues, Challenges, and Solutions.
The Speaker promised that the summit would not be a fruitless endeavor and that its outcome would be applied in practical terms to salvage and improve the tertiary education system in Nigeria.
“Let me say this for emphasis, this (summit) is not just going to be a talk. The recommendations, submissions, and whatever the outcome of this summit, which we will collate, will form an action plan upon which legislators will act to salvage tertiary education in Nigeria.
“So, I urge you to use this opportunity to speak hard truths and shake tables, the time for reticence has long since passed. Now is the time for drastic actions,” he said.
The Speaker added that before the summit began, there had been calls for interested education stakeholders to send in submissions on the themes and subthemes on which it would be centered, and over 1000 submissions had been received.
“As part of this summit, we published a call for papers requesting scholars, tertiary education administrators, and local and international stakeholders to make submissions on the theme of the summit, and other designated subthemes. By this morning, we have received over 1000 submissions including some from outside the country, coming from as far-flung as Oxford University. This tells you how important education is to the Nigerian people.
“A technical team has been appointed to collate and review those submissions. The conversations we will hold at this summit, and the submissions we have received will form the basis of a policy action plan and implementation framework which we will unveil shortly after the conclusion of this summit. Additionally, a journal of the submissions will be published as a guide and reference to the future,” he said.
Speaking on the recently suspended 8-month strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Gbajabiamila said the end of the strike did not mean all the issues on funding of education standards as well as student and staff issues had been resolved.
He added that the strike would not be the last one by the union unless all stakeholders involved worked to determine that it is so.