Trade Unions in the tertiary institutions owned by the Ondo State Government have lamented the under-funding of public universities, polytechnics and monotechnics in the state.
The unions, under the auspices of the Joint Action Committee (JAC), said the inadequate funding which has also led to reduction in monthly subventions to state-owned tertiary institutions since June 2016, had affected the payment of salaries of staff, the capital grants, promotion, accreditation and re-accreditation of courses at the public institutions.
A joint press statement signed by JAC Chairman, the Comrade Chris Olowolade and the Secretary, Temitope Aguda, which was obtained by SaharaReporters, noted that the lack of adequate funding is crippling operations in the affected state government-owned institutions.
They observed that the institutions mostly affected by the poor funding included Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba Akoko (AAUA), Ondo State University of Science and Technology, Okitipupa (OSUSTECH) and Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo (RUGIPO).
The trade union called on Governor Rotimi Akeredolu to see to the release of more funds and address the various challenges facing the institutions to save them from untimely collapse and protect the future of the state education sector from dwindling.
They also demanded a review of an implementation of the retirement age for state-owned universities and polytechnics academic and non-academic staff, as approved by the National Assembly in the amended University and Polytechnic Miscellaneous Act of 2012.
The union, however, asked security agencies to find a lasting solution to the incessant kidnapping and security challenges on the Akure-Owo-Akoko road.
The statement read: "We also want to use this opportunity to inform Mr. Governor (Akeredolu) that tertiary institution workers are not only suffering from insecurity but this inadequate funding has resulted in the instability to pay salary, which has drastically kept members of staff in the institutions in poor conditions as many could not take care of themselves medically, thereby resulting in untimely death of staff.
"The state governor should direct the management of Ondo State tertiary institutions to edit their laws and put into use the 65-70 retirement age for academic and non-academic staff of tertiary institutions, as approved by the National Assembly and the Presidency in the amended University and Polytechnic miscellaneous Act of 2012.
"Subvention of tertiary institutions in Ondo State was slashed in June 2016 under the last administration. For instance, RUGIPO subvention was reduced from N213m to N149m; Capital grants have not been released to RUGIPO since Governor Akeredolu came on board in February, 2017. Money released for accreditation and re-accreditation were grossly inadequate. Promotion of staff was carried out last in 2016 as a result of poor funding.”