ASUP And COEASU strikes. FG Should Address The Demands Of The Lecturers.

One of the issues dominating contemporary
discourse is the lingering strikes by the
Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP)
and Colleges of Education Academic Staff
Union (COEASU) respectively.
ASUP is kicking against the poor funding of
polytechnics, appointment of unqualified
persons as rectors, as well as the review of the
IPPIS scheme in polytechnics and the funding
of the CONTISS 15 Migration among others.
ASUP’s strike has now entered the 10th month
with the Union alleging media black-out for
the first four months of the strike in diametric
opposition to the coverage given to their
counterparts in the Universities.
COEASU is presently on a four-month old strike
action which began in December 2013 and
protests are escalating on the part of the
lecturers who accuse the Federal Government
of being apathetic to their demands. The
situation reached the peak when some
students of the Federal College of Education
(Technical), Akoka, Lagos, reportedly went to
one of the classes in the Science Department,
taking self-organised tutorials as a way of
keeping themselves busy while the full- scale
strike lingers. This is just a microcosm of the
current situation in the federal and state
colleges of education nationwide. COEASU
national president, Mr. Asagba Nkoro, had
insisted the strike action would continue until
the Federal Government reacts positively. He
decried the fact that the Federal Government
had failed to respond to the demands of the
Union despite the several meetings its
executives held with it.
One of the issues in contention between the
Federal Government and COEASU is the 2010
agreement which the former said the
government has refused to fully implement.
These include the non-integration and
payment of peculiar/ earned allowances, non-
implementation of life assurance to families of
deceased members, and the non-
implementation of the retirement age of 65 in
many states’ colleges of education. The other
issues include poor infrastructural development
in colleges of education nationwide, poor
funding, neglect of teachers’ education, non-
accreditation of National Certificate of
Education programmes, non-release of the
White Paper on the visitation panel reports,
and the imposition of the Integrated Personnel
and Payroll Information System (IPPIS).
Pundits have argued that government have
always treated ASUP’s demands with levity
and neglect and that when it involves their
university counterparts, governments and
stakeholders would show adequate concern
and make concerted efforts to end it; that this
has been the approach by successive
governments in the country over the years- a
development that has raised question if there
is need for polytechnic education in the
country.
Also not spared in the neglect, humiliation and
discrimination by both governments and
private sectors are graduates of polytechnics.
Obviously, polytechnic education is meant to
provide technical learning that could help
society in meeting its industrial aspirations.
That is why it lays strong emphasis on
practice-based learning. Industrial attachment,
which is part of the practical curriculum in
polytechnics, usually last for more than a year
for polytechnic students.
Candidates, who out of frustration or inability
to make university cut off marks, sought
admission into polytechnics usually stopped
after the Ordinary National Diploma (OND)
programme to seek for direct entry into
universities because of alleged discriminatory
practises by government and private employee
of labour. While university education is
theoretically- oriented, polytechnic education
is technologically-based.
Therefore, the discrimination between the two
institutions is unwarranted. Every sub-sectors
of the tertiary education sector, by virtue of the
Decress and Acts of Parliament establishing
them, has a noble role to play in the
development of the Nigerian economy. All
developed economies based their development
on technological advancement.
These technological advancements also
emanate from technical institutions of which
polytechnics are one.
We commend President Goodluck Jonathan’s
announced proposed personal intervention in
the ASUP and COEASU strike actions. The
government should address fully the demands
of the lecturers.
The 2009 –FG-ASUP Agreement should be
honoured. The bones of contention between
ASUP and the Federal Government are four
issues which are germane to the technological
development of the country. Among the
demands of ASUP are the non-release of the
White Paper on the visitation panels to all the
federal polytechnics, the non-release of funds
for the implementation of CONTISS 15
migration and its arrears, the continued
discrimination among the polytechnic
graduates in both the private and public
sectors of the economy and during job search,
the non-establishment of the National
Polytechnic Commission, slow review of the
Polytechnic Act by the National Assembly,
underfunding of polytechnics, as well as the
alleged lopsided disbursement of TETFUND
grants, scholarships and other financial
interventions in the education sector, which
has been to the disadvantage of the
polytechnics, the state of state-owned
polytechnics, coupled with the continued
appointment of unqualified persons as Rectors
of the polytechnics.
We call on the government and ASUP and
COEASU to quickly return to the negotiation
table and put an end to the lingering strike
actions.

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