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COEASU Mourns Lot In Nigeria’s Education Sector

And Vows to Continue Industrial Action
By Okechukwu Onuegbu
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Over two hundred staffers of College of Education under the aegis of Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU), Federal College of Education (Technical), Umunze chapter, Orumba South council area, Anambra state, yesterday, embarked on a peaceful demonstration within the institution, stressing that its lingering industrial action would continue till the federal government respond to their demands.

It would be recalled that both the state and federal owned Colleges of Education in the country started industrial action since 23rd December last year insisting that the federal government should implement at least 75% of its appeal which later formed parts of the resolutions reached at the end of the conciliatory meeting held at the instance of the Honourable Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu, between the COESAU, Senior Staff Union of Colleges of Education (SSUCOEN) and the Federal Ministry of Education on February 20th this year, at Abuja.

The resolutions, Orient Daily learnt is that the federal government should release the 2012 visitation White Paper to address a number of lingering issues affecting members of the Trade Unions; migration of lower cadres on CONTISS effective since July, 2013, in the Polytechnics, yet to be approved for the COEs with which it is on same salary scale; and that Colleges of Education should be conferred with an Autonomous degree awarding status for certified competent by the National Universities Commission (NUC) so as to award degrees in care education programmes and its attendant import in checking brain drain and encouraging subscription to the system.

Others are implementation of Peculiar and Responsibility allowance: like the Earned Allowances of the Universities, Government has never funded this provision which arrears/cost implication is about N5.38N (as determined by the College Management and the NCCE); Out-sourced Services (security& Labour) and the parasitic effects the policy imposes on or engenders in the system, the needs for reintegration of such personnel into the main stream of the services of the institutions; and release of death benefits to families of deceased colleagues which is a direct consequence of the compromised administration of the Group Life Insurance Scheme among others.

As a result, at end of its congress, COEASU, FCE (T), Umunze chapter, who were in black attire, went round the college's campus with placards of various descriptions: “Release of White Paper on 2012 Visitation Panel to Colleges Panel of Education”; “Migration of Lower Cadre in Colleges of Education Should be Implemented”; “We Teach Degree Programmes, So Why Can't the Gov't Grant us Autonomous to award degree certificate”; “COEASU says no to IPPIS”.

Speaking to newsmen, the union's Chairman, Comrade Obi Williams explained that COEASU was mourning the rot in Nigeria's education sector most especially, the Colleges of Education, as the federal government was adamant to their plea having refused to negotiate with them since the strike began.

Comrade Williams who decried that the government seemed to be interested more interested on 2015 general election, said that negligence to their plights would amount to putting the country's education sector at a stake as students, lecturers and host communities (and the country at large) were affected, even as he wondered why the issues connected with Colleges of Education and Polytechnic are always overlooked unlike its University counterpart.

He noted that people of different caliber, associations, civil groups, stakeholders, traditional institutions and the press discussed ASUU's strike till their demands were yielded to, and implored for the kind gesture to be extended to them with a view to repositioning the tertiary institutions to the betterment of all.

The COEASU protesters unanimously agreed that the government should allow colleges of education to award autonomous degree in as much they train the students to perfection, asking why the glory should be given to universities which
only present certificates or logo.

Similarly, they disclosed that the Integrated Personal Payroll (IPPIS) introduced by Jonathan's administrations should be scrapped-out, as it mostly cause delay and non-payment of monthly salaries of their members, noting that the IPPIS inconsistencies always forces its victims to travel to Abuja for correction despite the locations of their institutions.

Also speaking, one of the Chief Lecturers in the College, Lady Ibe Ngozi explained that the law establishing colleges of education was against IPPIS, even as she alleged over taxation by the government, noting that they pay more than they earned monthly and that payment of salaries has not been consistence since introductions of IPPIS.

In a separate interview, Vice-Chairman of the Union, Comrade ThankGod Nzeribe; its Secretary, Comrade David Okoye, and
PRO, Okonkwo Churchill urged students to be patient enough and join them to pressurize for corrections of the anomalies for a better atmosphere for effective teaching and learning.

COEASU, Federal College of Education (Technical), Umunze chapter, joined its colleagues nation-wide appealing to the government to look into their problems urgently as a way of resolving it and in furtherance return students and lecturers to classroom.




COEASU CHAIRMAN, FCET, UMUNZE, COMRADE OBI WILLIAMS (FRONT RIGHT WITH PALMTOP) ADDRESSING MEMBERS DURING THE PROTEST


COEASU PRO, COMRADE OKONKWO CHURCHILL (IN THE CENTER)


COEASU PROTESTERS AT FRONT GATE OF THE INSTITUTION 2.


COEASU PROTESTERS AT FRONT GATE OF THE INSTITUTION


COEASU SHOUTING IN AFFIRMATIVE TO THE CHAIRMAN'S INSPIRATION CAHRGE DURING THE PROTEST