ASUU: Confusion as universities set to lose sessions, admission seekers stranded
Seven months after the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, embarked on strike, the end is not in sight.
The industrial action, which the union usually reviewed on a monthly basis, is now indefinite, with both parties not ready to shift ground.
Tsbnews reports that the development has brought confusion into the education system with a set of students, whose admission processes were concluded last year, unable to resume, whereas another set of students sat for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, UTME, this year, 2022.
With the development, two sets of new students, 2021 and 2022 are now waiting for resumption of their academic journey in some of the universities.
According to a university worker, “as it stands now, we have two sets of students ready to resume academic session. Those admitted in 2021 were to resume after the second semester examination early this year, 2022, but their dreams were cut short by the strike.
“Now, another set of students sat for the UTME this year, 2022, waiting for admission processes.
“You know that universities have been trying hard to recover from the COVID-19 lockdown, during which schools were shut down, and now we have this prolonged ASUU strike. I really don’t know how this would be handled.”
ASUU has been on strike since February 2022 over the Federal Government’s inability to meet a 2009 agreement reached with the union.
In the agreement, ASUU is asking for funds for the revitalization of universities, and payment of backlog of salaries, among others.
Since the strike, representatives of the government and the academic body had met severally to negotiate the impasse, but such meetings ended in a deadlock.
Amid the breakdown of negotiations, the Federal Government had invoked the no-work-no-pay rule against ASUU members, which now appears to be the major clog in the wheel of dialogue between both parties.
Reacting to the development, a lecturer with the Department of Curriculum and Teaching of Calabar, UNICAL, said ASUU may not engage the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government in negotiations until the next dispensation.
The lecturer, Okey Samson, recounted how his colleagues have been suffering and some are dead due to the economic hardship caused by the lingering strike.
Speaking with DAILY POST, he said: “ASUU members won’t negotiate with any government representative again until a new government comes in. When a new government comes in place, ASUU will now start engaging the government.
In my last branch congress, our chairman said those who can travel to the village should go and farm. My head of department is into fishery now in Calabar. To be honest with you, the hardship lecturers are facing is something else; my interest in this job has waned. You see a professor trekking, you can’t knock on the door of a professor and demand N500,000, but that is what people take to clubs here in Abuja.
“There should be hope in this system; look at the value of naira now. It is so high. For anything meaningful to be achieved, there must be a sacrifice. ASUU should be applauded. It’s only the earned academic allowances which are statutory and increments that have a direct bearing on members; every other thing does not. If you talk about revitalization funds, it’s in the interest of students.
“I teach some faculty courses, and I pity students due to where to sit, no public address system; you will have to shout. ASUU is not unreasonable; it’s fighting for the students.
“ASUU is ready to consider, the body had negotiated a 180 percent increment, but the federal government at some point was ready to pay 100 percent, but things changed. They will pay ASUU the accumulated earned allowance after the meeting, earmarking the meeting of 100 percent increment, paying backlog of salaries, paying at least 50 percent of earned academic arrears and money sunk into revitalization, which no member would benefit from, but we don’t know what changed that government is no longer interested.