… NULASS says ASUU strike threaten graduates chances in labour market***
The Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU), says it will petition the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) over the conduct of examinations by Kaduna State University (KASU) management amidst the ongoing strike by the union.
This was contained in a statement on Monday in Kaduna by ASUU Kano Zonal Coordinator, Mr. Abdulkadir Muhammad.
The newsmen report that KASU, on May 23, said it would disqualify students with less than 75 per cent attendance from writing its second-semester examination.
The varsity’s management had also on April 26, announced the resumption of academic activities on May 9 for the continuation of the Second Semester 2020/2021 academic session amidst the ASUU strike.
Muhammad said the examinations should be re-conducted after following the due process and suspension of the ongoing strike, otherwise, the Union will be left with no option but to write a petition to the NUC and the ICPC against the Management of KASU.
He said in order to maintain and respect the sacred system of evaluation in the university system, all written examinations in KASU amidst the strike should be discarded.
He added that the ASUU, Kano Zone, met on Aug. 7 and deliberated on alleged intimidation against their members by the government due to the ongoing nationwide strike directed by the ASUU national body.
“The governor had threatened to sack all academic staff that went on strike in the branch as he usually does on similar matters,” he said.
Muhammad noted that ASUU as a union, had experienced similar threats in the past and that never deterred them from the struggles to salvage public universities from imminent collapse.
He restated their position on agreements reached on the demands, with timelines, by the Federal Government in the MoU and MoA signed willingly with ASUU in February 2019 and December 2020.
He also noted that ASUU as a union did not derive pleasure in the disruption of the academic calendar and hindering students from graduating in good time.
“Strike action always comes as the Union’s last resort after exhausting all other options and consultative avenues,” he said.
Muhammad explained that KASU had benefited immensely from the TETFund interventions, revitalisation fund, staff development and provision of research grants, which were dividends of ASUU strikes.
He described KASU as one of the universities that could rightly be called TETFund University, noting that virtually all buildings in the university were constructed through TETFund interventions.
“It is therefore illogical for Governor El-Rufai to bluff that members of ASUU-KASU should either break away from the National strike or be sacked.”
Muhammed alleged that since the issuance of the threat, their members had constantly been intimidated and coerced by the University Council and Management through the opening of registers, conducting examinations, and selective stoppage of Staff salaries, among others.
He stated that the theatrical exercises of KASU’s examinations, currently going on, were characterised by non-coverage course outlines, incomplete lecture contact hours, and non-participation of lecturers who taught the courses, in the setting of the examination questions.
Muhammad said the union would not fold its arms while the University evaluation system was being bastardised and abused by the Management of KASU.
Muhammed called on their members in KASU to remain resolute and prosecute the strike to its logical conclusion.
In the same vein, the National Union of Lagos State Students (NULASS) has said the ongoing Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike would affect students’ chances in the labour market after graduation.
Mr Shasanya Akinola, National President of NULASS in an interview with the newsmen on Monday said that the Federal Government has not been fair to the educational sector.
Newsmen report that the National Executive Council of ASUU on August 1 announced a four-weeks extension of the strike action in public universities embarked on by its members in February 2022.
According to him, there is a popular saying that when two elephants are fighting, it is the grass that suffers, in this case, Nigerian students are the ones at the receiving end of the fight between these two elephants.
“After spending an extra year in school, graduates go through another hustle of getting a good job in the labour market, and this labour market tends to be very competitive and comes with some huge requirements.
‘This include requirement such as an age limit usually between 23 years to 25 years of age.
“Many graduates often miss out on golden opportunities to work in their dream organisations due to ASUU strike resulting in a longer stay in school and increase in their age.
“The strike has left students idle and made some of them join bad groups engaging in crime which have further contributed to the increased insecurity rate in Nigeria,” Akinola added.
He, however, noted that in spite of the unpalatable situations, it was important that some students make judicious use of the strike to their best advantage by getting involved in good and lucrative activities.
“Some have enrolled for internship and online courses which will add value to their degree certificates, making it possible for the graduates to be more qualified and increase their employment opportunities in the forever competitive labour market,” he added.
Akinola described the unemployment rate in the country as alarming, advised undergraduates to venture into acquiring skills for entrepreneurship, to be meaningfully engaged and even employers of labour against job seeking.
Akinola, however, warned the undergraduates not to allow the ongoing ASUU strike and recent four weeks’ extension to push them into a state of negative thinking or depression.