Wednesday, 12 March 2014

FCE (T) Umunze Lecturers protest closure of Colleges of Education over three months

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 host community of he institution over the continued closure of Colleges of Education across the country.

The protesters said the industrial action would continue till the federal government responds to their demands.
Members of COEASU, FCE (T), Umunze chapter, wore black attire to a brief congress before going round the college’s campus with placards of various descriptions including: “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”.
The Union’s Chairman, Comrade Obi Williams who addressed the press after the peaceful protest 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 three months ago.

Comrade Williams who decried that the government’s interest on  2015 general election rather than the basics, 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.
He wondered why the issues connected with Colleges of Education and Polytechnics are always overlooked unlike its University counterpart and 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.

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 their separate contributions, 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.
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, it was gathered 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.



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