THE National Association of Nigeria Students (NANS), Osun State Axis, has chided the state government over incessant strike by academic staff in all the state-owned tertiary institutions, appealing to the government to find a lasting solution to the current crisis rocking the Ministry of Education in the state.
It would be recalled that Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic (ASUP) had last week embarked on an indefinite strike action in all the state-owned tertiary institutions based on the refusal of the state government to fully implement the CONTISS salary.
The Federal Government had earlier in 2008 approved a new salary scale (CONTISS) for the ASUP throughout the federation, a development that compelled all state governments to increase the salaries of ASUP members in each of the state-owned institutions.
Based on the approval of the new salary by the Federal government, Osun State government under the leadership of Olagunsoye Oyinlola, who claimed shortage of fund for the education sector, “arbitrarily increased” the tuition fees of all the state-owned tertiary institutions with a view to meeting implementing the new salary scale.
Investigation revealed that the agreement reached by the state government and the ASUP, was that if the school fees in all the state-owned institutions could be increased and implemented successfully; it would fully implement the salary increase for the union members.
Gripped by this agreement, lecturers in all the state-owned institution, especially in Osun State Polytechnic, Iree, swung into action, forcing students to pay their school fees by chasing students, who have not paid their school fees out of examination halls and barring them from sitting for mid-semester test.
Having implemented the fee increment, the state government reportedly approved 79% of the salary increase, while it promised to implement the remaining 21 percent in 2008, an impeccable source disclosed.
OSUN DEFENDER gathered that it was the failure of the state government to approve the remaining 21 percent salary increase that forced the ASUP in all the state-owned institutions to embark on an indefinite strike, a development that has paralysed academic activities in the state institutions.
According to NANS, in a press statement signed by its Osun State Chairman, Comrade, Yusuf Ibrahim, the ASUP strike, if not the already moribund state of education in the state”
Maintaining that the state government has no excuse not to fully approve the CONTISS salary as at then, NANS also warned the ASUP to be cautions of the on-going strike because of the effect it would have on the future of Nigerian students.
According to the press statement made available to OSUN DEFENDER last Thursday in Osogbo, the state capital, NANS retreated that the students in all the state-owned tertiary institutions had been witnessing epileptic academic calendar, a situation that had reportedly led to an upsurge in criminal activities.
However, the students stated, “We call on all and sundry to prevail on the staff union and the state government to consider the plight of students so as to complete our schooling as at when due”
By ISMAIL USMAN