Academic activities have been grounded across tertiary institutions in Akwa Ibom State including the State Polytechnic (AKWAPOLY), Ikot Osurua; College of Education (CoE), Afaha Nsit and the College of Arts and Science (CAS), Nung Ukim, as union leaders called out their colleagues in protest over sundry issues.
Under the Joint Action of Unions (JAC), leaders of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic (ASUP); College of Education Academic Staff Union
(COEASU) and the College of Arts and Science, met in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, condemning what they described as government insincerity in the development of tertiary institutions in the State.
The Chairman of ASUP, Comrade Iboro Paul Ibara; the Chairman of COEASU, Madam Gloria Inyang and Comrade Isaiah Ekwere of the teachers’ union at CAS, flayed what they called systematic erosion of the values of higher education, lamenting that such action has led to brain drain in the system.
Addressing Journalists on the matter yesterday in Uyo Comrade Ibara, listed the problems to include non-compliance with 65 years retirement bar for lecturers, haphazard implementation of teachers’ remunerations and the problem of decayed education infrastructure in the affected schools.
According to him, the need to shut down the affected schools stemmed from these anomalies, which, he noted, have made the tertiary education sub-sector totally subservient to politics and government bureaucracies, adding that these problems have impinged negatively on the development of higher education in the State.
He noted that senior lecturers have left the system in droves, having realized that their future was no longer protected by the managers of the system.
Ibara, who recalled that the coalition of unions in the affected institutions had earlier sent their position on the matter to government and other relevant agencies including the Assembly Speaker, Head of Service, Education Commissioner and other concerned authorities, said the institutions would remain shut until all these grievances were addressed.
He said: “We have observed that, rather than attend to our demands, as contained in our earlier memo, Government has moved ahead with the blind implementation of thefaulty scheme, resulting in diverse deleterious effects on members. We had hoped that these unsavoury outcomes and the attendant possibility of breakdown in industrial relations could be averted.
He recalled that the State government had agreed in 2011, at a meeting with the aggrieved teachers to implement the Consolidated Polytechnics and Colleges of Education Salary Structure, to no avail, lamenting that non adherence to the 65 years retirement bar for senior academics, was killing the system. (Leadership)