Parents and students have continued to express their displeasure over the prolonged strike by the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) and their counterparts at the colleges of education.
The labour unions, civil society groups as well as well-meaning Nigerians have equally dissatisfied with the development. They said they were fed up with the situation, which has grounded activities in both tiers of education for several months.
Today makes 195 days into the strike by the polytechnic lecturers as well as that of their counterparts at the colleges of education. Interestingly, both teachers’ unions jointly went on the streets of Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory on Tuesday protesting the inability of government to resolve the issue by now. But the Federal Government’s position on the strike so far, according to stakeholders, is not encouraging. They accused both the government and the lecturers of what they called insensitivity to their plight and that of the education sector as a whole.
The Chairman, Parents/Teachers Association of Nigeria, South-West, Deacon Olusoji Adams said many students at this period are engaging in activities that could easily truncate their future. He observed that the development was dangerous, especially now that political activities in preparation for the next general elections are gathering momentum.
“The implication of this is that politicians can easily lure these students into nefarious activities like hooliganism and thugerry without minding the adverse consequence,” he said.
The government, he pleaded, should therefore not allow things to get out of hands before they settle with the lecturers. “It is not necessary for them to go on street protest before government should do something to resolve the crisis,” he concluded.
Similarly, Mr. Olusola Olayiwola whose daughter just secured an admission into the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro, Ogun State when the strike began, is at the moment not happy that the same daughter would still have to stay more at home idle. Like Adams, he equally pleaded with the government as well as the teachers to sheathe their swords and allow normalcy to return to schools.
He pointed that while polytechnics produce middle-level manpower to the economy, the colleges of education churn-out teachers who will in turn reproduce themselves and other professionals.
“But a situation where the two subsectors are neglected is a pointer that the country is preparing for a doom. So, I implore both parties in this issue to resolve their differences and allow our children to go back to school,” he pleaded.
Rukayat Adekanmi is a Higher National Diploma student of Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH), Lagos. She told National Mirror that the strike had already extended her stay on campus by one year having lost a semester.
Although, engaging in beads making for now to keep herself busy, Rukayat like her colleagues is eager to go back to school and complete her studies. So for her, both sides should go back to a negotiation table and resolve their differences once and for all.
Another student, Chuks Ogbonnya, who is in 200-level at the Federal Polytechnic, Oko, Anambra State said he was preparing for the one year mandatory industrial training when their lecturers declared strike.
“Now I don’t know when I will go back to school much less the time for the industrial training. I am at home doing absolutely nothing tangible. My daily routine is to sleep, eat and visit friends and I am tired of all that,” he lamented.
Nonetheless, ASUP Coordinator, South West, Mr. Babatunde Dosumu told National Mirror on telephone on Tuesday that they would continue with the strike until the Federal Government meets their demands, which borders on infrastructural development, salary, welfare, and development of polytechnic education in the country, among others. (The Nation)
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