Even as the strike action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) enters its fifth week, the union has contrary to insinuations, declared that the action has no political undertones but rather a protest gainst the deplorable conditions of public universities across the country.
The union further denied that the action was targeted at President Goodluck Jonathan, insisting that politics has nothing to do with its current struggle to draw attention to the poor state of infrastructure and deplorable conditions of teaching and learning at the various universities, with a view to saving the university system from total collapse.
Making the clarification in an interview in Port Harcout last week, the ASUU Chairman at the Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island, Bayelsa State, Dr. Beke Sese said imputing political motives to the current ASUU strike was a calculated attempt by some persons to deploy propaganda gimmicks to the cause of the university teachers in order to divert attention from the real issues that informed the strike in the first place.
To buttress this point, ASUU says the body is organised in such a way that even its President, in spite of where he hails from, cannot call out the union to strike or suspend a strike without recourse to its National Executive Council (NEC), which is vested with such powers.
Besides, the union also believes that none of his members can sway other members towards his or her political inclinations since ASUU is not a political organisation.
While stressing that the ASUU strike, was not politically motivated, Sese noted that it was not the first time in the history of the country that the union had embarked on a protracted strike, adding that ASUU strikes were not predicated on where the President of the country came from.
He recalled that when the present Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Attahiru Jega was ASUU President, the country, then, was under the leadership of Late Gen. Sani Abacha, who equally hailed from the North like Prof Jega, pointing out that the ASUU leadership at that time, did not compromise, even when an Emir from the North had waded into the matter. To further debunk the insinuations, Sese noted that the strike action was going on all over the country, even as academic activities in all public universities were grounded.
The ASUU Chairman, however, condemned attempts by some opposition political parties and politicians in the country, including the APC, to cash in on the current strike action to run down the Federal Government and the Presidency, saying, “we are not happy about it. We condemn this kind of behaviour, because people should not politicise ASUU strike, because ASUU strike is not politically motivated”. Sese, therefore, called on all politicians in the country to leave ASUU alone and stop using the current strike action as a tool for pursuing their political ambitions.
Centre Wants Govts To Update School Curriculum
The Centre for Distance Learning, Modibbo Adama University, Yola, has urged governments at all levels to update school curriculum in tune, with the realities of the new normal.
A Deputy Director in the University, Dr Abdullahi Bashir, made the call at the National Teachers Conference organised by Maltina Teacher of the year, on Friday, in Yola, with the theme: ”Classroom Without Border; The New Normal.”
Bashir said that the current school curriculum needed to be revisited in the light of current developments in the education sector caused by technology and current global realities.
He said this would help to improve the standard of education in the country and enable students compete with their peers around the world.
Bashir also stated the need for governments to look into teachers’ welfare with a view to align their remuneration with doctors, engineers and other professions.
In her remarks, Adamawa Commissioner for Education,Mrs Wilbina Jackson, appreciated the efforts of the organizsers for their contributions to education development in the country.
Jackson, who was represented by Executive Secretary, Post Primary Education Management Board,Mrs Maryam Abubakar, charged teachers to impact positively on the life of their students to succeed in future.
According to her, the world is moving towards technology, hence the need to encourage students to embrace it in order to succeed.
Mrs Christable Malachia, who spoke on behalf of the participants, said the conference was timely, as they had learnt a lot, having been exposed to how to relate well with the students, parents and other staff, as well as how to be good mentors.
Admission: College Begs JAMB For Waiver On Technical Courses
The Federal College of Education (Technical), Akoka Lagos, has requested the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), to grant it a waiver in technical courses.
The Provost of the institution, Dr. Wahab Azeez, who disclosed this in an interview with newsmen on Saturday in Lagos said that such waiver would attract more prospective students to the college.
Azeez was speaking against the backdrop of the poor enrolment of students in the college.
He explained that the idea was to create openings to attract school certificate holders to the college and build a career in technical education.
“Enrollment has not been encouraging and we are not silent on it.
“So, what we did was to approach JAMB to give us a wave in certain technical and vocational courses.
“We are hopeful that our request will get positive response from JAMB and it will throw opportunity for more students to register for technical or vocational courses in our college.
“Technical and vocational education is where the money is.
“Students who finish from the college may not necessarily look for a paid job because of the training they have acquired,’’ he expressed.
According to him, part of efforts to project the image of the college, was to reach out to the ministry of education with the purpose of having direct access to technical Secondary Schools.
Azeez explains that the college teaches related vocational subjects, which serve as foundation for students, who may want to settle in the field.
“Five technical schools are here in Lagos, including our FCE, Technical, which prompted our visit to the Lagos Commissioner for Education.
“The focus is more on technical teaching, where our seasoned lecturers take them through oral, practical rudiments of vocational education and inculcate in them, self reliance,’’ he said.
Azeez said that infrastructural developments, researches, academics, welfare, administration and social activities would continue to be prioritised, in order to make the learning environment conducive for students and staff.
According to him, construction of buildings for lectures, programmes and staffroom are ongoing, as part of measures to upgrade and bring the institution to an amiable state.
He said that under his administration, the science complex was being constructed and would be equipped with modern laboratory materials for the teaching of sciences and computer studies.
“Also, part of the ongoing constructions in the college is a technical workshop.’’
The management has equally taken steps to address issues of security water projects, he added.
The provost expressed optimism that the ongoing amendment bill on the Act that established the college, now at the National Assembly, would lead to the upgrade of the institution to a Federal University of Technical Education.
CEAPoly: Governing Council Chairman Lauds Members, Rector On Commitment
The Governing Council of the Captain Elechi Amadi Polytechnic (CEAPOLY) has been described as one of the best in the comity of governing councils in the various institutions Rivers State.
Chairman of the council, Senator Lee Maeba, stated this during at the ground breaking ceremony for the construction of the two storey governing council building complex at the insititution in PortHarcourt, recently.
Maeba, who noted that the governing council of the institution was committed to the progress of the institution, said it remained unwavered even in the faces of the challenge of a building for members’ meetings and deliberations.
Describing the members of the council as steadfast and lovers of the institution, Maeba expressed joy over the cordial relationship that existed among members, maintaining that their zeal and forthrightness would take the polytechnic to greater heights.
He said, “This governing council is one of the best governing councils in the schools in the state. I want to thank members of the council for their forthrightness and love for the school. These are members who spend their money to come to school on private visit to see to the welfare of the school. There is no friction between governing council and members and our meetings have always ended cordially. I am happy to be associated with these cream of members”.
While assuring that the polytechnic would witness flagoff of other constructions on campus, Maeba averred that the destruction of the former governing council building by the wildwind was a deliberate act to bring about a modern and beffiting complex in the institution.
“This auditorium was blown off by wildwind sometimes in May 2018. The sole purpose of the wind was to blow off a building that was no longer befitting for the school and the aim of the wind is actualised today”, he said.
The CEAPOLY governing council chairman further lauded the Rector of the institution, Dr Samuel B Kalagbor for his dedication towards the growth of the institution.
In his words”the Rector is committed as he wants to move the school forward. We have passed a vote of confidence on him twice. First as a provost and then seeing his dedication, it was on us to convert his duty as a provost to a rector and that was done seamlessly because he deserves it.
By: Lady Godknows Ogbulu
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