The Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) has debunked the notion that it conspired with management staff in recent job racketeering in colleges of education being probed by the National Assembly.
The President of the union, Dr Smart Olugbeko, disclosed this on the sideline of its leadership training workshop in Abuja on Tuesday.
The workshop was in collaboration with the Committee of Provosts in Nigeria, with the theme: “Leadership Skills Development for Effective Industrial Relations in the College of Education System”.
Olugbeko said the union had been at the forefront of confronting impunity going on with the issues of employment in the colleges.
“What we discovered is that since the introduction of IPPIS in 2020, it has been practically impossible for provosts or management of councils to carry out employment without interference from the Head of service (HOS).
“So for now, even when we have lecturers or members of staff that left the system, the provosts cannot replace them. What we do have is a situation whereby the provost will have to apply to HOS that they want to replace those that left.
“But you discover that some of these applications will stay with the HOS for one to two years without any reply and in the course of doing that we discover that at the end of the day, it is always followed with a kind of waiver that there shouldn’t be advertisment.
“And as a union, we have been opposing this vehemently that how could it be possible for a provost to recruit about 200 staff members without advertisement and they bring them into our system.
“At the end, the provosts always tell us that those recruited are being donated to them from some of the people in government and some of the time, we fought and ensure that this impunity is not taken but the more we fought, the more we couldn’t achieve more,” he said.
Olugbeko said the workshop was designed to equip its members with better capacity to deal with issues of industrial concern to ensure industrial tranquility in the colleges.
He added that this was in a bid to let members and provosts understand the rules of engagement so as to work amicably at ensuring peace and progress on the campuses.
He also charged the government to take teacher education seriously, saying several attempts had been made to government on how teacher education should be repositioned.
“One of the ways of getting it done is to get our institutions well-funded to be able to produce quality teachers because if you do not produce quality teachers, you will not have teachers with capacity to be able to teach at all levels.
“If government has not been able to fund our colleges appropriately then what comes out of that is our inability to produce teachers of high quality.
“Government must take teacher education seriously and place it in the front of its list to be able to produce capable teachers so that schools will have quality teaching and learning,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Director, Colleges of Education, Federal Ministry of Education, Dr Uchenna Uba, said it is important to equip union leaders with the necessary leadership skills to navigate the complex landscape of industrial relations and cultivate an environment of mutual respect.
Represented by the Deputy Director in the ministry, Mrs Iyabode Ali, said the ministry was aware of the agitations of the unions and firmly dedicated to addressing and resolving them.
She said the ministry had commenced the payment of the Need Assessment Fund and all the beneficiaries had received 50 per cent of the fund.
She said the it had also commenced the process of mainstreaming the staff members of demonstration schools in line with the minimum standards and many more .(NAN)