Rumours have started to raise dust in the nation’s higher education system that the Nigerian Government is about to downgrade four Universities of Education to their former status as Colleges of Education.
According to Daily Sun, universities workers’ unions and other stakeholders have turned to President Muhammadu Buhari over alleged plans by the Federal Government to downgrade four universities to college of status.
The four Universities of Education that will return to their former status as Colleges of Education if this plan is implemented are: Alvan Ikoku University of Education, Owerri; Adeyemi University of Education, Ondo; the Federal University of Education, Kano; and Federal University of Education, Zaria, a move which the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) have rejected.
Members of the ASUU and SSANU of the Federal University of Education, Kano, have risen against it describing it as uncalled for.
The ASUU chairman in the university, Dr. Abubakar Sadiq Haruna, has alleged that the former provosts of the four former Colleges of Education are conniving with some interest groups in President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to return the education universities to their former status.
If we recall, agitations began last week when the news broke that the universities, which were originally colleges of education upgraded by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, would be downgraded.
Though there is no official communication from the government confirming or denying the move, stakeholders in the affected institutions are certain that the Buhari administration is set to downgrade the universities as it restructures the education sector.
Speaking with The Punch, the Chairman of the Adeyemi Federal University of Education Joint Non-Teaching Staff Action Committee Chairman, Femi Lademikan, said there is no reason to downgrade the universities.
He said; “We want our university to remain.”
“We are appealing to the government through this peaceful demonstration that what we want is our university status.
“We want to tell President Buhari that we have everything required to make this institution a university.
“We have the people, resources and everything to take to maintain this school.
“We have the structure and the enabling environment, just as we are peaceful and cooperative.”
“Mr. President must not listen to people who don’t love him, sycophants and those enemies of progress.”
However, any move the FG makes would be expected to take students into consideration because some of them enrolled in these institutions because they are universities.