ABUJA – The Minister of Education, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, has appealed to leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) to call off its 11-month old strike.
Shekarau made the appeal in Abuja on Thursday when he received the leadership of the union in his office.
The minister assured speedy resolution of issues that led to the strike, with the understanding of the lecturers.
The courtesy visit led by ASUP National President, Dr Chibuzor Asomugha, was Shekarau’s first official assignment as minister.
Shekarau noted that missing a lesson by students could retard their progress and it was unfortunate that the polytechnic students had missed almost a year.
He appealed to the union to give him more time to study the issues raised while expressing the optimism that the disputes would soon be resolved.
The minister assured that the Federal Government would keep to its parts of agreements reached with the union, particularly, on payment of salaries.
He urged the union to understand that there were other very competing issues that government needed to also address.
Shekarau commended the union for its concern and struggle to raise the standard of polytechnic education in the country.
He noted that as minister, he would ensure that “only high standards are set and maintained at all levels of the education sector.’’
Earlier, Asomugha said the visit was to welcome the minister and to intimate him of the contending issues that resulted in the protracted strike.
According to the union leader, “all ASUP is asking for is that government makes commitment on when and how the issues will be resolved.’’
Fielding questions from journalists at the end of the meeting, Asomugha said the union would convene a National Executive Council meeting to take decision on the minister’s position.
The union embarked on the strike over non-release of the white paper on issues in the polytechnic sector since 2012, among others. (NAN)