ASUU Rejects New University Governing Councils

ASUU rejects new governing councils for Nigerian universities, citing illegal dissolution, underrepresentation, and funding issues. President Tinubu

ASUU Rejects New University Governing Councils

In September 2023, the federal government dissolved the governing councils of all federal universities, a move that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has deemed illegal and disruptive. Governing councils are crucial for university administration, overseeing policy, finances, staff recruitment, and the appointment of Vice-Chancellors. Without these councils, universities struggle to function within their legal frameworks, making essential decisions in a vacuum of proper oversight [source].

ASUU’s Grievances

Illegal Dissolution: ASUU has argued that the dissolution of the governing councils was not only illegal but also detrimental to the operational integrity of universities. The councils are crucial for budget approvals, staff promotions, and the nomination of Vice-Chancellors [source].

Underrepresentation and Lack of Federal Character: The newly announced councils have been criticized for not reflecting the federal character of Nigeria, with some states being underrepresented. This imbalance prompted ASUU to demand a review [source].

Continued Use of IPPIS: Despite previous agreements to exempt academics from the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS), the platform is still in use, causing significant discontent among university staff [source].

New University Curriculum: ASUU has also opposed the new Core Curriculum Minimum Academic Standards (CCMAS) introduced by the National Universities Commission (NUC), arguing that it was implemented without adequate consultation or preparation [source].

Proliferation of Universities: The union has expressed concerns over the unchecked establishment of new universities, which it believes dilutes resources and lowers the quality of education [source].

Funding Issues: Chronic underfunding of universities has been a longstanding issue. ASUU has criticized the diversion of TETFund resources to other schemes, such as the student loan program, which further strains the already limited funds for higher education [source].

Government’s Response

In light of the widespread disapproval, President Bola Tinubu has ordered a comprehensive review of the appointments to the governing councils. This review aims to ensure that the appointments adhere to the principles of federal character and adequately represent all regions of the country. The government’s action is a direct response to the criticisms raised by ASUU and other stakeholders [source].

Potential Impact

The rejection of the new governing councils by ASUU could lead to significant disruptions in the academic calendar if not addressed promptly. ASUU has indicated that it may resort to industrial action if its demands are not met, which could exacerbate the already volatile situation in Nigeria's higher education sector [source].

The controversy over the new governing councils for federal universities in Nigeria underscores the ongoing tensions between the federal government and ASUU. While the government’s decision to review the appointments is a step towards resolving some of these issues, it remains to be seen how these changes will impact the stability and functionality of the country's university system in the long term. Addressing ASUU's broader concerns about funding, curriculum changes, and the IPPIS system will be crucial for ensuring a harmonious and effective higher education environment in Nigeria.

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