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Socialist Democracy March - April 2005

 

MARCH 2005 NUT ELECTION

 

On March 10 2005, elections into local council offices of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) take place in Lagos State. Dagga Tolar, the Editor of Socialist Democracy and a member of National Executive Committee of Democratic Socialist Movement stands election under the Ajeromi-Ifelodun local executive chapter, Lagos for the office of the Third Vice-Chairman. Reproduced below are extracts from his manifesto for the election.

 

More than any other period in the history of public education in Nigeria, a new fighting union of teachers is needed to organize a mass defence against the ceaseless attack on public education as well as the un-ending trampling of the rights of teachers, pupils and students. By electing a leadership that is armed with the correct strategy and tactics at all levels- unit, local government, state and federal, etc, success in this respect is guaranteed. Indeed, the time to change the public perception of the NUT as a conservative and docile union is now!!!

 

TYPICAL PROBLEMS FACING TEACHERS TODAY:

 

· Teachers are poorly and irregularly paid

· Teachers are poorly and irregularly trained

· Teachers lack the most basic of teaching aids and materials

· Teachers lack offices, chairs, tables, electric fans and a conducive environment to teach and research

· Teachers are poorly remunerated for other compulsory jobs they do outside teaching, such as serving as electoral officers

· Teachers are poorly motivated

· Teachers are over worked as a result of over crowded classes

 

TEACHERS ARE NOT THE ONLY ONES SUFFERING

 

For other workers in the education sector and the students, the story is hardly different as we all suffer for the collective failure of the Nigerian capitalist government to adequately fund education and allow it to be democratically managed by workers and professionals in the teaching and educational sector.

 

The situation from primary to tertiary levels has continued to deteriorate with no end in site to the rot. Examples of these decay include:

 

· The collapse of structures like buildings in the public schools

· Over-crowded classes causing students to sit and study on the floor and in open spaces, sometimes under trees

· Ill-equipped laboratories many of which have, in any case, been converted into classrooms, thus making the teaching of science subjects virtually non-existence

· Complete absence of library facilities and lack of necessary books in the few available ones

· Shortage of teachers etc.

· Decline in pupils' enrolment into public primary schools with most parents handing over their wards to exploitative private proprietors whose only and real interest is profit

· Too few vacancies, compared with the hundred of thousands of those seeking higher education.

· Massive unemployment among school leavers and graduates - a horrifying situation that has created a growing layers of studentry that fundamentally have no confidence and interest in honest studies.

 

THINGS HAVE NEVER BEEN THIS BAD

 

Historically, the conditions of service of the education workers across the board had never been rosy. Hence the well known saying that teachers "reward are in heaven". However, this never rosy conditions had come under an unprecedented systematic attacks and rots in the past 2 decades or so. The public education sector has been virtually destroyed due to age-long under-funding and corruption in the running of the entire system. The result today is the virtual state of hopelessness that pervades the sector from primary to tertiary levels. This ought not to be the case and in fact this deplorable condition should be resisted. With a fighting NUT leadership run democratically and primarily to better the lots of the rank and file education workers, a considerable improvement can be won on many of the deplorable conditions enumerated above.

 

Unfortunately however, the dominant type of NUT leaders we have today are those that are only willing to use the union platform to better their own personal lot instead of using the union as an instrument to defend and better the interest of all its members.

 

WE NEED TO TRANSFORM THE UNION AND SOCIETY

 

If the NUT leadership today is committed to a fight to ensure improved conditions of service i.e. to fight to ensure that every teacher has a chair and desk, offices and other necessary teaching aids, reasonable number of pupils and students per class, for democratic management and accountability of the limited fund being voted for and generated within education sector, etc, many of the aforementioned deplorable conditions can be rapidly improved upon. However, to achieve substantial and stable improvement on these conditions, the entire rotten economic and political system which currently forms the bedrock of educational and other policies have to be transformed.

 

Currently, as a result of the selfish nature of this system, the collective wealth and resources of the society are being centrally geared only primarily to serve the profit interest and egos of the few rich. On the contrary, the needed and desired improvement in the education and all other key sectors bordering on the living standard of the people can only be properly and permanently funded in a society where the collective wealth and resources are commonly owned and centrally but democratically run by the working people themselves on the basis of an express commitment to meet the needs and aspirations of everybody and not just the rich. In this respect, I will fight for a NUT leadership which recognises the necessity and at the same time, is committed to fighting to bring about a government of the working people, exclusively and unswervingly committed to masses cause and not to oil corporations, World Bank, IMF, etc, as being done by the capitalist governments across the country.

 

DON'T BE AN ONLOOKER

 

"Every onlooker is either a coward or traitor" - Amical Cabral. If you agree with the view points expressed above or if you merely want to have further discussion of these points, then join us immediately or get in touch with us immediately at Ajeromi-Ifelodun N.U.T. 08034513073.

 

If we fight we can win, if we don't, we have lost.

 

The struggle continues.

 

 

 

Socialist Democracy March - April 2005