SIR: Without adequate preventive measures, provision of safety facilities that will protect children from contracting coronavirus, it may not be totally safe for children to resume in their respective schools.
I share the same opinion with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in this regard.
With listing of all conditions and guidelines for schools’ resumption, government must do all it can to ensure proper compliance with all the precautions and guidelines.
On the other hand, it is also interesting to note that when the government announced its decision to reopen schools exclusively for basic and secondary students, the announcement offered university and tertiary education students as well a glimmer hope for resumption of teaching and learning activities.
But in a bewildering contrast, hope for the resumption of academic activities at the tertiary education level has been destroyed by ASUU’s declaration that they’ll not resume even if the federal government insists on reopening of schools.
This implies that resumption might eventually be ASUU’s weapon to further put pressure on the government to meet its demands. It suggests that the government should expect no concession from the ASUU.
This must-have created a general feeling of resentment on the part of the students. Let me confess that I whereas I believe in government’s responsibility to do all that it can to resolve this issue, recent ASUU’s position can only weaken the government’s determination to end the strike.
As it is, both ASUU and the government lack synergy, clear and explicit commitments to end this strike. Worse still, both sides have refused to even continue with talks that might give hope about resolution.
When will the minister of education, the labour minister reconvene another meeting with ASUU for continued discussions and further deliberations?
If we can continue with all our activities with restrictive measures against the devastating scourge of Covid-19 in place, why can’t we summon a meeting to continue the deliberations? Obviously, this failure has continued to generate considerable frustration and concern.
Though I believe and also admit that government has made enough concessions by releasing the salaries of those who refused to be captured into IPPIS, but I believe also that with sincere and responsible commitments from the labour minister, education minister, and the AGF, a definite solution will eventually be achieved.
I must admit the fact that ASUU had always maintained bitter and messy relationships with successive governments, but to be blunt, I felt totally disappointed with ASUU’s flat refusal to give room for further reconciliatory discussions.
If this request is granted as requested by the Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Private Universities from the National Universities Commission, (NUC,) what do you expect to hear from students of public universities?
What else do you say when only children of the poor are the ones writhing in anguish over ASUU’s persistent strike?
Does it not sound strange for ASUU to be touting itself as body championing the cause of good university education for public university students?
With this declaration coming on the heels of government’s preparation to reopen schools, many must have felt disappointed with ASUU’s uncompromising statement.
Moreover, the most pressing issue is whether the defiant ASUU will give room for further negotiations.