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2009-07-02:Varsity lecturersí retirement age now 70

•As FG accedes to ASUU’s demands

Education Minister, Sam Egwu
Photo: The Sun Publishing

University lecturers in the country are now to retire at 70, as the Federal Government has acceded to three key demands of the striking varsity teachers, in a determined effort to end the strike and get members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) back to the classroom.

The concession came even as government okayed an International Development Association’s (IDA) loans, totalling $320 million (about N46.7 billion) for the second HIV/AIDS Development Project across the country, as well as the implementation of the proposed Lagos Eko Secondary Education Project.

The Minister of Information and Communications, Prof. Dora Akunyili, made these known in Abuja yesterday when she briefed state house correspondents on the outcome of yesterday’s weekly Federal Executive Council meeting.

She said the strike action embarked upon by ASUU would soon be resolved as government was doing everything possible to reach a consensus with the union, pointing out that negotiation was continuing on some of the union’s demands as the Federal Government had expressed concern about the issue.
She explained that government had consented to the demands for autonomy of the universities, retirement age of 70 for university teachers, as well as improved funding for the universities in its determination to resolve the issue.

The minister also said negotiation with the union was on-going, pointing out that the Minister of Education, Dr. Sam Egwu, has been working round-the-clock to ensure amicable resolution of the matter as soon as possible.

On IDA credit, Akunyili said the council approved that the country obtain $225 million (about N32.8 billion) for the HIV/AIDS Development Project aimed at reducing the risk of HIV infection by scaling up prevention and intervention, as well as increase access to, and utilization of HIV counselling, testing, care and support services in the 36 states of the federation, including Abuja.

She also said the council equally okayed a $95 million (N13.8 billion) IDA loan for the execution of the Eko Secondary Education Project expected to improve the quality of education in public and senior secondary schools across Lagos State, strengthen the federal post-basic education strategy and build monitoring and evaluation capacity of the ministry of state education.

“The proposed credit would support the Lagos State government’s plan of human development by directly supporting the junior and senior secondary schools through grants, performance-based incentives, teachers training and standardized testing of the students. This project will benefit over half million public schools’ pupils, build the capacity of over 7,000 teachers and school administrators and strengthen capacity of district institutions,” she stated.

Another major decision of the council, according to the minister, who was supported by her Minister of State, Alhaji Ikra Bilbis at the briefing, was the approval of N6.1 billion final payment to RCC for the construction of the phase 11 of the Federal Ministry of Finance headquarters office complex in Abuja which contract was awarded in 2001.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has said it has not stopped the processing and award of new contracts as reported last week, explaining that the stock-taking of all contracts and projects which it commenced last week would now be done every last Wednesday of the month.

Source:Daily Sun

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