The Education Minister, Ruqayyatu Rufa'I: I’m not aware of plans to scrap NECO, UTME
The Education Minister, Ruqayyatu Rufa'I, said she has yet to be informed on any plan to scrap the National Examination Council, NECO, and the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations, UTME.
Ms. Rufa'i spoke at a meeting with the executives of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, ASUP, in Abuja on Thursday.
ASUP had issued a 21-day ultimatum that it would embark on a warning strike on March 25, if its demands were not met by the Federal Government. She said that she had not been officially communicated on the recommendations of the Stephen Oronsaye's whitepaper, as it affected the ministry. "As far as I am concerned, the white paper has not been officially communicated to me.
"I am not in a position to take any decision or pass any comment on that, so for now, we are not in a position to say anything," she said. Earlier, ASUP President, Chibuzo Asomugha, while enumerating their grievances, said government had failed to constitute the governing councils for polytechnics, 18 months after they were dissolved.
Mr. Asomugha said the white paper on the visitation panels to polytechnics had not been implemented.
He told the minister that there were still discrimination between HND and degree holders who were lecturers as well as flagrant abuse of standards in polytechnics, among others.
The ASUP president also alleged that some polytechnics were yet to implement the 65-years retirement age for lecturers and were retiring members of the union at 60 years.
Ms. Rufa'i, in her response, said many of the issues raised by the union were problems that could have been resolved faster, if there were existing governing councils.
She assured the union that the Federal Government was set to announce members of governing councils for polytechnics.
Ms. Rufa'i said the white paper on polytechnics' visitation panels was being delayed because "for every recommendation you have to look at the policy direction of government".
The minister, however, said that some of the issues raised by the union were not exclusively within the purview of the ministry.
She said the issues would require further consultation with the Head of Service of the Federation, which she, promised to facilitate.