Sunday, 6 October 2019

ASUU Splits, As New Academic Union Seek Stable Calendar For Universities

A new academic union has called for a stable university calendar to improve the quality of education at the ivory tower and enhance innovations in the system.
The union further stressed the need for interfacing between teachers at the ordinary level and academics at the higher institutions of learning to improve the quality of students admitted into the university system.
Addressing journalists under the aegis of Congress of University Academic (CONUA), after its first stakeholders meeting held at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, during the weekend, the National Coordinator, Dr. Niyi Sumonu, said it is time for other academia in other universities to join the union in its search for a refine academic unionism to foster quality education in the Nigerian university system.
According to him, the union can no longer afford to do things in the old ways and expect different results, hence, the need to develop alternative ideas, brainstorm with other stakeholders to ensure stability in the university system and return the country’s education sector to the path of glory.
“For standard of education to be very high, we need a stable academic calendar, we need to be able to predict academic session, we need to have innovations which are difficult without continuity, we also need to be attuned with modern realities, our union would approach the matter of engagement with all stakeholders in an engaging manner with a view to arriving at common ground and move forward.
“Our union is not anti-government, if government and by extension, administrators of Universities are doing well, we will let the world know and will quickly knock them, provide alternatives through constructive criticism and take them to task where they are not doing well, we will not wait for them to make mistakes before we intervene. We have a vision and will provide ahead of time what can be done to have better results. If that is done we are sure we will have better ways to move forward”.
“Members believe we should have alternative ways of solving problems, members have been contributing very well to the finance of the union, when we fulfil and do all that we need to do, financial constraints will be forgotten”.
“We have been at this for over three years in Ife, we have been waxing stronger and members from other universities have been experiencing what we experienced here, hence, the decision to come together to form a national Union”.
“The issues we are having cut across all Universities and resonates well everywhere, the five institutions that have the gut to bell the cat came together to form the union and this is only the first stage. By the time we are done with the procedures, it would be like an inferno you may not be able to curtail in terms of spread”.
“Our strength lies in our focus, which includes, the welfare of our members, secondly, the interest of the system and most importantly is the third stakeholders, the students that no one is defending their interest, we would look out for them because we are only lecturers because of them”, he added.
According to him, the five institutions that attended the meeting are; Federal University, Lokoja, Kwara State University, Malete, Ambrose Ali University Expoma, Edo state, Federal University Oye-Ekiti and Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, adding that other schools are already on board to join the union.
Responding to the question if the union is out to rival ASUU, the National Publicity Secretary, Dr Nwoke Ernest said the union is out to redefine academic unionism in Nigeria and is not ready to join issues with any union.
We want to be able to proffer solutions to issues even before it pops up, there is no point sending our children to countries which don’t have the required intellect as Nigeria but because you can predict when your child gets to the university and graduate. We are in essence coming together to start something new, which is an interaction with the stakeholders in the educational system and it is not confrontational but a synergy of all stakeholders.”
We need to think of students welfare, the educational system in Nigeria and the development of the country itself because many countries developed because of the achievement of its ivory towers and without a stable academic system, it is impossible to achieve such feat”, he added.
Reacting to the alleged formation of a new academic union, the OAU ASUU Chairman, Dr Adeola Egbedokun said he is not ready to talk about any union because he is not aware of its existence.
He, however, stated that ASUU is not in any way threatened by the existence of any union or the formation of a new one, it is a body that has been existing for over four decades.
“ASUU is solid, can fight for itself and always up to the task, I don’t want to talk about any union because I am not aware of its existence”.
“The last time ASUU called for a strike, it complied with 100 per cent here in Ife, so if any union is coming to existence, good luck to them, but ASUU has the tenacity to agitate for whatever it wants, it is not threatened by any union”, Egbedokun added.

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