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‘We are confused’

…Students of Colleges of Education bemoan prolonged strike

The campus of the Federal College of Education, (Technical) Akoka, is very much like that of its counterparts across the country. On a cursory look, the campus looks full. But about 90 percent of the campus population at the moment does not consist of FCE students.

There are hopefuls writing the Computer Based Test of the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations, students of the Federal University of Technology, FUT Minna, who use the school facility, some members of staff, vendors seeking to make their daily bread-but very few students.

Since the Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union, COEASU, began its strike more than five months ago, the Colleges are bereft of students. The few who are on ground portray the frustration of the thousands who remain at home.

Akegbeyale Ibrahim, a 200 Level student of Building Technology Education sits in the canteen with his friends. His plan was to round off his National Certificate for Education, NCE, programme by August 2015, and begin pursuing his BSc in September.

“We are confused and we don’t know what to do. We don’t know whether to move unto other things or to just keep waiting. I’m at a cross roads as to whether or not to begin a professional computer training course which is to last for six months. What if I start and the strike is called off? On the other hand, I’m just tired of hanging around and doing nothing. It seems like my entire life is hanging in the balance. Some of us are even writing this present UTME.”

Okwara Stanley just resumed school in 100 Level when the strike began. He has been a student for more than five months but has not attended any classes since he gained admission. “Tell President Jonathan to call off the strike,” he pleaded, “I have no idea what I am doing here. All I know is that I paid fees but there is nothing going on at all.”

Chairman, COEASU FCE, Mr. Olayanju Taiwo told Vanguard Learning: “We haven’t seen anything tangible from the Federal Government so far. We have a meeting with them this week, but the success of the meeting will be determined by whether or not the Minister of Education, Sen. Nyesom Wike, attends the meeting and is forth coming about our demands.”

Another COEASU Official who did not want his name in print, also put the blame at the feet of the supervising minister for education. “It’s seems like Wike does not really care about what goes on in the sector. He did not attend the last meeting the union had with the house of representatives, and he was supposed to be the chairman.”

The lecturers interviewed seem to be taking the ‘no work, no pay’ policy in stride. “We  were already prepared for it, and we will continue until our demands are met,” the COEASU FCE Chairman said without any qualms.


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