The Madonna University Alumni Association, MUAA has condemned the ongoing strike by the Academic staff Union of Universities, ASUU, saying that its demand of close to 3 trillion naira was unrealistic.
The Association body made this known through its President, Mr Chima Achu who spoke with our correspondent during a press briefing on the Magazine launch and MUAA Award ceremony which has been scheduled to hold on October 12, at the Ladi Kwali Hall, Sheraton Hotel Abuja.
Speaking on the ongoing strike of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, the Association President said, the issue of decay in the educational system is something that has happened systematically over a period of time. He said it was a known fact that budgetary allocation to education in the last 25 years has been quite less than the standard set by the United Nations, hence " you don't expect this current administration to mop up those lapses just instantly. It will take time to get this done, as it requires systematic approach."
He also stressed on the need to declare an emergency in the educational sector in order to bail it out of the lapses of several years. He however appealed to ASUU to sheathe its sword and reopen the nation's universities. "It's imperative to note that dialogue remains the better option; hence they should go back to classes, while dialogue continues. Asking the Federal Government to cough out almost 3 trillion naira as a last option is a wild goose chase and totally unrealistic. The amount is equivalent to a nation's total budget and not realistic at all" He said.
Debunking the erroneous belief that Madonna University is expensive, and not affordable, Achu said, " I must tell you that Madonna University remains the cheapest of Nigerian Private Universities. Madonna University's fee is not even up to half a million. If compared to other Universities fees that remain above one million naira per session, it is crystal clear that the school is very considerate even with the quality of education it delivers. You need to pay to get quality. Madonna University is the best private University in Nigeria and to have its fees below half a million is commendable. You don't expect the school to hire Professors both within and outside Nigeria, and they won't take care of them."
Speaking on the school's stringent disciplinary actions against Madonna University students which most of the students appear not to be comfortable with, the President said that the school governing council had provided basic rules, which he said were not stringent enough compared to other universities, therefore any student who signs under those rules and accepts to study in the school must continue to obey the rules. He said "during admission, you are meant to go through the school's rules and sign that you will abide by them.
There were no such rules when we were in the University in those days, but because the school was a little liberal, students abused the opportunity, and different cult groups emerged. In order to keep the good image of the school, and as a Catholic school, it had to put in place some basic rules which I believe is working. Now, all students are meant to live on camp, and if you are to leave the school any time, you must state the reason why you are leaving. We have military men and
mobile police everywhere in the school just to ensure that the University's rules are kept."
On quality of graduates, the Association President said Madonna University has received commendations from different organizations for producing the best hands into the Nigerian job markets, citing examples to include the CEO of African Achiever Award whom he said was a product of Madonna University. He said Zenith bank has equally sent a commendation letter to the school for their products. " Definitely, Madonna University is one of the best Universities in Nigeria"
Meanwhile, speaking on the second edition of the Madonna University Alumni Association, MUAA's awards ceremony which has been scheduled to hold in Abuja, the President said the event is tagged, "MUAA Awards 2013/MUAA Magazine Launch" and slated for October 12, at the Ladi Kwali Hall, Sheraton Hotel Abuja. He said the 2013 edition is the first of its kind since the inception of the Association.
He disclosed further that some members of the Association who have contributed towards its growth as well as other outstanding members who deserve commendation in various fields of endeavours will be honoured at the event.
Others to be honoured are members of the public who have also contributed remarkably to the growth of the nation's economy, irrespective of their fields.
Mr Achu further disclosed that the award will be based on an initial criteria set by the Association to evaluate performances of the awardees, adding that the awards will be based on merit, as the Association will not allow any form of inducement as it's the case in most awards in Africa.