Buhari Calls ASUU Corrupt, Says Strike Undermines FG Investment in Section

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CEM REPORT, EDUCATION | President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, accused the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) of sabotaging the federal government’s efforts in the education sector of the country.

The President said incessant strikes by unions created the impression that the government was underfunding education.

Buhari speaking at the fourth National Summit on Diminishing Corruption in the Public Sector, said corruption from the basic to tertiary levels of education greatly marred the government’s investment in the sector.

He added that the academic unions were no less complicit in the systemic corruption in the education sector.

“Incessant strikes, especially by unions in tertiary education, often imply that the government is grossly underfunding education. But I must say that corruption in the education system, from the basic level to the tertiary level, has been undermining our investment in the sector and those who go on prolonged strikes for flimsy reasons are no less complicit.

“There is sorting or cash for marks/grades, sex for marks, sex for grade alterations, examination malpractice, and so on.”

He also added that the effect of corruption in the education sector undermined the national capacity to develop requisite social capital for socioeconomic development.

“Government and stakeholders in the educational sector are concerned about the manifestation of various forms of corruption in the education sector. I am aware that students in our universities, for example, use different terminologies to describe different forms of corruption they experience on our campuses.

“Sexual harassment has assumed an alarming proportion. Other forms of corruption include pay-roll padding or ghost workers, lecturers taking up full-time appointments in more than one academic institution, including private institutions, lecturers writing seminar papers, projects and dissertations for students for a fee, and admission racketeering, to mention only the most glaring corrupt practices.”

Speaking at the summit organised by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), in conjunction with the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) and Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), with support from MacArthur Foundation, themed “Corruption and the Education Sector,” Buhari express his delight in the activities of the ICPC in the prosecution of sexually related offences in the education sector.

“I am happy to note that ICPC is investigating and prosecuting sexual harassment as an abuse of power in our educational institutions. I approve and encourage them to continue to do so.”

[READ ALSO] ASUU-FG Feud: a Pointer to Ailing Educational System, a Blinking Tomorrow

Furthermore, Buhari urged stakeholders  including the media to demand accountability in the administration of academic institutions, advocate transparency in the internally generated revenues by educational institutions and how such funds were expended,

“Corruption in the expenditure of internally generated revenue of tertiary institutions is a matter that has strangely not received the attention of stakeholders in tertiary education, including unions.

“Corruption in the expenditure of internally generated revenue of tertiary institutions is a matter that has strangely not received the attention of stakeholders in tertiary education, including unions.

“I call on stakeholders to demand accountability in the administration of academic institutions and for unions to interrogate the bloated personnel and recurrent expenditure of their institutions. Let me also implore the unions to work with the government to put faces and identities to names on the payroll.”

Buhari affirmed that government would continue to fund education within realistically available revenue, stating that no nation develops without adequate and appropriate investment in education, he however said government alone cannot fund education.

“I believe that the role of government in education is to guarantee access and establish minimum benchmarks for quality education. Due to declining resources, the government cannot bear the cost of funding education alone. I task our academics to attract endowments, research and other grants to universities, polytechnics and colleges of education similar to what obtains in other countries.”

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