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Unity school teachers suspend strike

By Victor AHIUMA-YOUNG
STRIKING teachers of the nation’s 104  Federal Government Colleges (FGC) otherwise known as Unity Schools, yesterday suspended their over one month old industrial action to    ask for  a return of Junior Secondary School (JSS), earlier stopped by Obasanjo’s government since 2006.

Under the umbrella of the  Association of Senior Civil Servants of  Nigeria (ASCSN), the teachers who had been on   a strike  which paralysed academic activities since September 17, 2009, are expected to resume normal academic activities on Monday.

Addressing Journalists yesterday, Secretary General of ASCSN, Mr. Solomon Onaghinon, said the strike was put on hold sequel to assurance of  President Umar Yar’Adua  that the JSS  classes of the Federal Government colleges would resume on or before January 2010.

According to Mr. Onaghinon the January 2010 target for admission of new intakes into the JSS classes would pose no problem because all that was required was for the National Examination Council (NECO) to conduct an entrance examination since the teachers, classrooms, and other facilities were available.

He explained also that  about 64,000 candidates sat for examination into the JSS Classes and attended interview and so those who passed can as well be offered admission immediately.

He said: “Following the decision of the Federal Government to commence the process of restoring the JSS components of the 104 Unity Colleges throughout the country, the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) has suspended the strike embarked upon by its members in the Unity Schools which paralysed academic activities since 17th September 2009.

“The Government has also pledged that all outstanding allowances will be paid to the teachers soon. We therefore direct  the teachers in the 104 Federal Government Colleges to resume normal academic activities immediately.”

He posited that a communique signed in Lagos on Wednesday 21SI October 2009 by the Union Officials, and Representatives of the Federal Ministry of Education and those of the Federal Ministry of Labour emphasized that no teacher would be victimized for taking part in the strike.

Continuing, Mr. Onaghinon pointed out that all documentation needed to resuscitate the JSS arms of the Unity Colleges were being processed and explained that the Presidency had also accepted the position of the Union that the Schools should continue to exist as institutions that inculcate the spirit of national unity among Nigerians and also serve as models for secondary education in the country.

“The Presidency has equally acceded to our argument that not all Nigerians can afford to send their children and wards abroad to get qualitative education and as such the Federal Government Colleges should continue to function so that Nigerian children from varied economic backgrounds can have access to secondary education of international standard.” .

Onaghinon pointed out that the January 2010 target for admission of new intakes into the JSS Classes would pose no problem because all that was required was for the National Examination Council (NECO) to conduct an entrance examination since the teachers, classrooms, and other facilities were available.


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