Some stakeholders have called on the Federal Government and management of unity schools to end the ongoing strike embarked upon by teachers of the schools over unpaid salaries and allowances.
The stakeholders expressed their opinions in an interview, in Abuja, on Thursday.
NAN reports that pupils from 18 Federal Government-owned colleges are either at home with their parents or in school without any academic activities.
This is as a result of an industrial action embarked upon by staff of the unity schools since May over non-payment of salaries and other allowances.
Executive Director, Initiative for Leadership and Economic Watch in Nigeria, a Civil Society Organisation, Mr. Splendor Agbonkpolor, said dialogue was the only viable option to any industrial action.
Agbonkpolor said the strike which had rendered the pupils redundant was capable of making the children to embrace some social vices which are capable of destroying their future.
He also appealed to the Federal Government and the Ministry of Education to act quickly to ensure the pupils are back to school without further delay.
“One thing that the Nigerians always want to employ is strike, but strike is not the best solution.
“If there are issues to be harmonised by the government and management/teachers of unity schools, I think they should both come to the roundtable in the interest of the country.
“Those pupils that are sent out of school are not doing better and at the end of the day some may go into vices and the society will not be better for it, because the effect will be more disastrous,” he said.
The executive director, however, appealed to the management and staff of unity schools to embrace dialogue and take into account the economic challenges in the country.
He appealed to all stakeholders to work together to tackle the challenges facing the country’s educational sector.
“The education sector of the country had a lot of challenges and we have to work hard to make it better.
“What government needs at this time is encouragement and we all must encourage the government to do better,” he added.
Also, Mrs Adekemi Jegede, Assistant Headmaster, Methodist Elementary School, Oke Omi, Osun, stressed the need to end the strike for the good of the pupils.
Jegede expressed the fear that if nothing was done to resolve the lingering industrial action; it could worsen the situation of the country’s education sector.
She added that all hands must be on deck to finding lasting solutions to the problems while urging the National Assembly to intervene so that the pupils would return to their normal academics.
She said that the strike would prevent the pupils from been at par with their contemporaries from other government and private schools.
A parent, Mrs Bolanle Kitike, called on the Federal Government to see to it that the pupils were brought back to school to avoid their withdrawal to other schools.
Kitike said that the situation was worrisome because pupils of some Federal Government schools are still going about doing their normal academic activities while pleading with the government to act fast.
Also, Mrs Augusta Okoye, a parent of a pupil from FGC, Rubochi, said she was unhappy to see her child at home despite the fact that she had paid her child’s school fee.
“I am not happy at what is happening to our children. I paid the full school fee before my child could be allowed to resume and now he is at home doing nothing, just because of the strike.
“Parents were not informed about this development.
“We went for visiting day and only for the school authorities to ask us to take our children because they have not been in the classroom since the beginning of the term.
“The Federal Government should please pay the salary arrears of teachers in the few schools involved in the strike because the pupils are at the receiving end, which is not good for the system,” she said.
Principal, FGC, Rubochi, Mrs Hannah Dikko, declined comments on the strike when contacted.
“I have no authority to speak with the press on this issue but all I know is that something is in the pipeline and we will soon resume.”
Director of Press, Ministry of Education, Mrs. Chinenye Ihuoma, said the ministry had taken necessary steps to pay the salaries of the affected teachers.
Ihuoma added that the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, had met with the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, to ensure the payment of the salaries.
“On the issue of strike in some of the unity schools affected, the ministry is on top of the payment.
“The procedures, I’m sure should be at the stage of payment by now,’’ she said. (NAN)