ASUU TO FG: Don’t Reopen Schools Now
CALABAR zone of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has said that Universities clamouring for the re-opening of Nigeria Universities are those serving as cash cows to some governments.
The Coordinator of the zone, Dr Aniekan Brown of the Department of Sociology & Anthropology, University of Uyo (UNIUYO) who made the assertion while briefing newsmen Monday in Uyo, stressed the need for members of the public to know that it was unreasonable to contemplate re-opening universities because the facilities to ensure the safety and lives of students, lecturers are not in place.
Brown maintained that the COVID-19 pandemic actually exposed the vulnerability and frailties of the country in the different sectors of the economy especially the Education sector as Nigeria Governments have ingloriously exhibited gross inability to meet the standards set by COVID-19 advisories in the country’s public schools.
He explained that Nigeria universities would have recorded the expected development in infrastructure, promotion of researches and that this pandemic would not have taken the country unawares this much if the Government had kept its own side of the 2013 agreement it had with ASUU.
His words, “But government has reneged on that agreement as we speak. Let’s be fair, if you know the total number of students that take certain courses and then you take that side by side with the available spaces, you will know that Government has set protocols, but the reality on our campuses suggest that Government is not ready.
“Therefore, it will be illogical to contemplate re-opening the universities when the facilities to take care of people are not there. Remember it is the lives of people that we are talking about, lives of students, and lecturers.
When you consider these things, then you feel you are duty-bound to let the Government know that it should be responsible. So we owe Nigerians the duty of compelling Government to do the needful.
“Some universities serving as a Cash cow to some governments are clamouring for the re-opening of our universities.
The very impetus for this is to continually exploit Nigerians via fees. Regrettably, there is no evidence that the COVID-19 protocols and advisories will be enforced.
What facilities do we have to ensure the protocols would be kept?
“One thing is obvious: they don’t care about the safety and lives of Nigerians; all they care for is how to exploit the system for their personal benefits. Just because of capitalist disposition, some people would want universities to resume so as to make money.
They are capitalists.
They are given to cupidity. With this, we have blown the whistle”
Brown regretted that the governing structures in many universities across the country including the Visitor(s), Governing Councils, and management have left much to be desired lately
Recalled that bootinfos reported that Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, ASUU National President, spoke with the with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ota, Ogun.
According to him, the Federal Government needed to address the challenges of education sector before it can talk of reopening schools.
Ogunyemi urged the Federal Government to provide ideal environment and should take the lead by meeting the conditions spelt out by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) before reopening schools.
“The Federal Government must lead and show the ways by meeting the conditions for reopening of schools before any school can be allowed to open, because COVID-19 pandemic is a health challenge.
“When it comes to public health, it is something that should not be left in the hands of individual, but the Federal Government must take the lead,’’ he said.
The ASUU president listed the conditions spelt out by NCDC to include: provision of materials for regular washing of hands, face mask, isolations centres, space for social distancing and hands sanitiser.
Ogunyemi said that many of the schools do not have financial capacities to meet those conditions and requirements for reopening of schools.
“It is suicidal to reopen schools now, if the Federal Government itself could not meet the conditions spelt out by NCDC and World Health Organisation (WHO).
“The nation will expose the innocent children to risks which is avoidable,” he said.
Ogunyemi noted that how many of these schools could afford to provide hand sanitiser, saying that many of them do not even have running water, not to talk of having facility for washing hands.
He added that many schools do not have enough spaces to promote physical distancing.
The ASUU president said that putting all these requirements needed together, to reopen schools in the country now would run to millions of Naira, which most schools could not afford.
Ogunyemi appealed to the Federal Government to provide the running funds for the principals and head teachers so that they could provide some of these facilities in their schools.
He further said that inadequate funds by many parents would hinder them from providing some of these amenities needed for reopening of schools.
Ogunyemi said that the Federal Government needed to tell Nigerians the steps they intended to take in reopening schools.
The ASUU leader said that for government not to tell people their minds was like running away from “our shadow” which would later hunt the country. (NAN) ASUU TO FG: Don’t Reopen Schools Now