The Federal Government has faulted the allegation by the Academic Staff Uniob of Polythecnics (ASUP) that it has neglected Polythecnic Education in the country, saying vocational and technical education has remained the cornerstone of the ongoing transformation in the education.
Supervising Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike, while reacting to the claims of abandonment by the ASUP President, Mr Chibuzor Asimugha, said government had been in talks with the leadership of the union on how to resolve it’s protracted strike.
Wike said only on Monday this week, he was joined by the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu, to engage ASUP in a fruitful discussion, explaining that only one issue, which is the release of the white paper on visitation panels, wad remaining to be trashed out.
The minister, who spoke through his Special Assistant on Media, Mr Simeon Nwakaudu, said it was not true that government had abandoned the striking lecturers or the Polythecnic education as alleged by Asomugha.
ASUP had barked on strike on April 17 2013, after several warning strikes for the government to properly fund Polythecnic education education as well ad address the disparity between the Polythecnics and university graduates in the country.
National President of ASUP, Mr Asomugha, had in an interview he granted, lamented that government was killing Polythecnic education in Nigeria as several meetings held with government to ensure re-opening of Polythecnics yielded no fruits.
He argued that the lack of interest by government to implement it’s promises for Polythecnics to be re-opened was a deliberate ploy to deny students of Polythecnics access to education.
But the minister recalled concerted efforts made by the Government to resolve the impasse for the Polythecnics to be re-opened for academic programmes in view of the importance Federal Government attached to the sector.
Just before the Christmas in December , 2013, the minister said he met with committee of Pro-Chancellors of the Federal Polythecnics with the Chairman of the Committee, Chief Ebenzer Babatope, in attendance on how to end the strike.
Wike had revealed on the occasion that the Federal Government has met over 80 percent of the demands of the ASUP, with the release of white-paper the only thing left to be done.
The minister noted that the federal Government has started the process of paying the #20.8 Billion arrears owed Polythecnic staff, pointing out that the funds will be released as soon as the procedures are concluded.
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