We’re negotiating with ASUU on reopening varsities —FG

The Federal Government on Monday said it is in full negotiation with the striking members of Academic Staff Union of  Universities (ASUU) and other stakeholders ahead of plans to reopen universities and all other tertiary institutions in  the country.

The Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, who made this known during the Presidential Task Force  on COVID-19 briefing, however, said no specific date had been decided on the reopening of universities and other strata

of educational institutions in Nigeria.

The union has been on strike since March and most parents and students have expressed concern that even if schools  are reopened, the gates to the institutions might remain shut to students. He said the Federal Government was already  reviewing responses from universities, most of them private, on the level of their compliance to COVID-19 protocols and guidelines to guarantee safety of students when they eventually resume.

The minister appealed to students, who are already being agitated by the prolonged stay at home, and their parents to  be patient while modalities for safe reopening of schools are being put in place by their respective institutions.

Nwajiuba said: “Really, there has been a lot of improvements. However, what we have done and pursuing regarding  reopening, we have presented to all the tertiary institutions in Nigeria. “We are positive that the time is almost around  the corner. However, we don’t want to bandy around dates but we remain positive and the sooner you can get that the  better.

“So, I urge our students who have actually exercised a lot of patience along with their parents, because I know even my  own children they are beginning to think they’ve had enough of me and I understand that. “I urge you to just bear with us a little bit more. We are in full negotiation with ASUU and every player is engaged on how to reopen the schools,” he  said.

Nwajiuba disclosed that the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu; the executive secretary of National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Abubakar Rasheed, and the permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of  Education, Sonny Echono, met on Monday to review responses from about 78 universities already.

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