ERC Applauds ASUU’s Resolute Struggle to Defend Public Education
* Government Must Implement Agreements with ASUU and other Staff Unions to prevent another round of strike
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) commends the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) for its resolute struggle to defend public education which was manifested in its strike action which lasted over 9 months. We hold the Buhari government which refused to meet the legitimate demands of ASUU early enough responsible for the protracted nature of the strike. We call on the government to be sincere with the terms of the agreement it reached with ASUU that made it to suspend the strike and thereby avert forcing the union back on strike.
The ERC supported the strike while it lasted because of the demands of ASUU which bordered on adequate funding of university education and legitimate welfare of its members on the basis of agreements the government had reached with the union. Beyond ASUU, we have also consistently called on the government to meet the demands of other staff unions in higher institutions in order to avert perennial closure of schools. We call for a united struggle of education workers and students in order to force the government to meet the agreements with all the unions and demand adequate funding of education at all levels. In order to ensure the judicious use of every allocation to education and schools, we call for democratic management of schools involving elected representatives of education workers and students.
We call on ASUU members, other education workers and students to note that the agreement with ASUU that necessitated the suspension of the strike does not indicate any let off on the attack on education by Buhari government and state governments. For instance, the budgetary allocation to education for 2021 is the lowest since the past 10 years as 5.6% of the total budgetary allocation was allocated to education.
So we should be prepared to resist more attacks on public education in the period to come as the responsibility of running schools is more and more likely to be shifted to the shoulders of the poor parents and students. This has already been indicated with the recent increment in the tuition fee at Lagos State University (LASU), the unjust decision of Ekiti State University (EKSU) management to force the students defrauded by some management staff to pay again the school fee, introduction of unheard of obnoxious charges by many institutions, failure of the government to pay the earned allowance of different categories of education workers and many more. This underscores the need for to build a joint campaign against the implementation of such anti-poor policies by the government at various levels. These should include the rejection of hike in school fees and attacks on the democratic rights of students to independent unionism by governments and managements.
We challenge ASUU to be prepared to repay the solidarity of students for its recently suspended strike by joining students of LASU and other institutions in solidarity to resist fee hikes and other anti-poor policies many of which are still in the offing. This is the best way to begin to lay the foundation for a united struggle of students and education workers to save public education collapse.
Most importantly, we call on education workers and students to link the struggle against various attacks on education and welfare to the need for a working people government on a socialist program.
The reason why every government since return to the civilian rule in 1999 has attacked public education and witnessed different strike actions in the sector is their subscription to the same anti-poor capitalist policies. So we need a government which will use the enormous resources of Nigeria for the provision of basic needs including education and health care for all. This is why we of the ERC support the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) and call on workers, students and youth to join and build it as a formidable mass party that could wrest political power from the thieving capitalist elite irrespective of political parties.
Deputy National Coordinator
Adaramoye Michael Lenin
Acting National Mobilization Officer