Following the protracted strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, President Muhammadu Buhari has said the government would no longer sign any agreement it cannot implement.
Buhari noted that he expected a better understanding of the current realities in the country from members of the ASUU who have been on strike since February 14.
The President, who spoke while presenting the 2023 budget estimate to a joint session of the National Assembly, said the government was dismayed that the strike action has paralyzed activities in public universities.
According to him: “The government notes with dismay the crisis that has paralyzed activities in the public universities in the country. We expect the staff of these institutions to show a better appreciation of the current state of affairs in the country.
“In the determined effort to resolve the issue, we have provided a total of 470.0 billion in the 2023 budget from our constrained resources, for revitalization and salary enhancements in the tertiary institutions”.
The President said events have shown that it is becoming very difficult for the government alone to fund education in the country saying “it is instructive to note that today Government alone cannot provide the resources required for funding tertiary education.
“In most countries, the cost of education is jointly shared between the government and the people, especially at the tertiary level. It is imperative therefore that we introduce a more sustainable model of funding tertiary education.
“The Government remains committed to the implementation of agreements reached with staff unions within available resources.
“This is why we have remained resolute that we will not sign any agreement that we would be unable to implement. Individual institutions would be encouraged to keep faith with any agreement reached in due course to ensure stability in the educational sector.
“Government is equally committed to improving the quality of education at other levels. Recently, we implemented various incentives aimed at motivating and enhancing teachers’ development in our schools”.
He also said that the government remained committed to the effective implementation of the safe schools policy and has made available the sum of N15.2 billion in the 2023 Budget to scale up current measures to provide a safer and more conducive learning environment in schools.