Buhari tasks ASUU, others on sex-for-grade

Against the backdrop of the increasing cases of sexual harassment in the nation’s universities, President Muhammadu Buhari has advised members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to focus on unethical practices such as sex for grades presently going on right under their noses.

Buhari, who spoke at the weekend in Benin during the 45th graduation ceremony of the University of Benin (UNIBEN), tasked ASUU and other campus-based unions to pay closer attention to issues about the internal governance of the universities and other tertiary institutions rather than focus on almost exclusively on governance at the national and sub-national levels while the universities are increasingly being ravaged by maladministration, corruption, indiscipline and immorality.

He said: “I, therefore, challenge the unions to beam their spotlight in the way and manner in which universities are being governed so that together, we will succeed in restoring the citadel of higher learning to their prestige glory and their revered positions as ivory towers. and indeed, there is absolutely no room for corrupt practices as our government will swiftly apply sanctions against anyone proven to be culpable.”

He told the different unions that there is a need to only pay close attention to the internal governance of the schools rather than focus almost exclusively on governance at the national and sub-national levels in the nation.

Buhari challenged them to focus on issues that will help salvage the tertiary education challenges which have “increasingly being ravaged by maladministration, corruption, indiscipline, immorality, and different variants of unethical practices such as sex for grades under their noses.

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He said the measure would help to restore the citadel of higher learning to their prestige glory and their revered positions as ivory towers in society.

Represented by the Deputy Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Alhaji Suleiman Ahmed Yusuf, the president insisted that over indigenisation and over the localisation of Nigerian universities was unacceptable.

Hinging his argument on a democratic survey on admission in Nigerian tertiary institutions, the president said his administration was aware of the ongoing efforts by the National Universities Commission (NUC) to undertake a comprehensive review of the benchmark to improve the academic standard and reform the curricula in all academic disciplines in the Nigerian Universities system.

He assured that the move was in consultation with all the universities and other critics stakeholders so as to ensure that graduates from Nigerian universities acquire the requisite skills, knowledge, and altitude that are relevant to national development and global competitiveness in today’s knowledge economy.

He declared: “Universities must evolve innovative strategies for Curricula development, the evolution of new academic programmes and continue to make deliberate efforts to intensify the building of the capacity of staff to ensure that at the cutting edge of the frontier of knowledge and have the contemporary digital and pedagogical skills to facilitate the acquisition of the 21st century skills without which graduates of our universities will be at the great disadvantage.

“Moreso, with the advent of the fourth industrial revolution, such new curricula must address and proffer solutions to bridge the perceived skills and knowledge gap between labour market expectations and what graduates bring to the labour market which presently appears to blight the quality of our graduates,” he said.

Outgoing Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Faraday Orumwense, recalled his achievements in the past five years.

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