The Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU), South-east zone has vowed to continue its indefinite strike to press home its demands. The aggrieved lecturers said the action was triggered by government’s failure to address key issues facing the college of education system and the country’s education sector in general.
The Coordinator, COEASU, South-east, Dr. Tobechukwu Nwamaradi said the strike is total and urged all members of the union to stay at home until the government addresses their demands. He explained that education has taken a deplorable plunge under the watch of the present administration, adding that the recourse to strike by members was a necessary part after the government reneged on its promises to the union.
According to him, the federal government has failed to implement the 2014 needs assessment report on the 70 public colleges of education despite the implementation of a similar report of 2015 for another tertiary institution patronised by the children and wards of the elites.
Nwamaradi said all the lingering issues that prompted the 2015 strike have not been addressed by the current government.
He expressed disappointment that while similar challenges confronting other tertiary institutions are being addressed by the same government, those of the colleges of education were left in perpetual abeyance. He noted that the FG’s disposition towards the public colleges of education confirms the perception of the union that the current administration does not care about the less privileged, whose children constitute the majority of students in colleges of education
“No man can be courageous who has the fear of death in him. The threat of ‘no work, no pay’ is not meant for us who have value for freedom, and who are meant to fear slavery much more than death. History has equally shown that excess marginalization almost always produces a violent reaction. Enough is enough of exploitative work. If this is the price we must pay to resuscitate the colleges of education system and reposition it for its onerous assignment, then let it be. We stand in solidarity for total and indefinite strike until FG accedes to our demands.”
The union identified seven critical areas to the development of the colleges of education system in Nigeria and urged the federal government to implement without further delay the needs assessment report to reposition the colleges of education. Other demands include the payment of Peculiar Academic Allowances since 2010, as well as addressing the discriminatory/non-implementation of CONTISS 15 and the consequential movement of lower cadre.
The lecturers also urged the government to address urgently the emerging unjustifiable discrimination against colleges of education by some education parastatals, and undue bottle-necks and lack of commitment in reviewing the laws establishing colleges of education and the National Commission of Colleges of Education (NCCE). They also called on the government to revisit without delay the non-approval and implementation of autonomous degree awarding status for certified COEs, as well as the policy that out-sourced some services, thereby engendering porous campus security and unhealthy environment in colleges of education.