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ASUU strike: Blessing or curse?

Asuu StrikeThe national strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has once again disrupted the academic calendar. While students and their parents groan about the impropriety of the strike, ASUU leaders defend their decision to shut the classrooms until the Federal Government honours the 2009 Agreement.

After a three-year break from prolonged national strikes, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) started an indefinite strike on Monday, causing concern for students and their parents.

The lecturers are not to return to the classrooms or laboratories of public universities until the Federal Government honours the 2009 agreement with the union.

The unfulfilled agreement the union is fighting for include the non-payment of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA), the failure to complete modalities to set up the Nigerian Universities Pension Commission, withdrawal of funding from staff schools, and the non-injection of the agreed N200 million funds yearly into the university system to support infrastructural development.

The directive had immediate effect in many public universities were classes stopped abruptly and examinations suspended. In others, academic activities slowly grounded to a halt with some schools cramping the examination timetable to conclude the academic session with minimal damage. However, some other institutions could not salvage the session as they were scheduled to start examinations in a few weeks.

The strike was in full effect at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), University of Ibadan (UI), Ekiti State University (EKSU), Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA), Federal University Oye Ekiti (FUOYE), and Bayero University Kano (BUK), University of Calabar, among others.

At BUK on Tuesday, students were seen leaving the campus with their suitcases. The situation was similar at EKSU and FUOYE with a good number of students travelling back home while those who did not travel were holed up in their hostels both on campus and off-campus. At UNILAG, where examination was scheduled to commence in two weeks, many students hung around waiting for directives to vacate the hostel, while at UI, students were forced to stop examination midstream.

When our correspondent visited the Federal University Lokoja (FUL) on Monday night, examinations were ongoing in some of the departments. While the 200-Level Economics students sat for one of their papers on Tuesday morning, others in 100 Level had theirs in one of the courses at 11.30am.

A student in the History Department, who gave her name as Blessing, said she was billed to finish her end-of-semester examinations by Saturday, but that the papers were crammed, to make all end by Thursday.

However, not all public universities may join the strike. The Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, which usually always complies with ASUU strikes, and the Delta State University (DELSU) are not on strike because of problems in the local chapters of the union; while the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN) has a tradition of not joining ASUU strikes for over a decade.

Source – http://thenationonlineng.net

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