Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM

OSCOED Ilesa: Students and Staff must unite against exploitation and terrible conditions

OSCOED Ilesa: Students and Staff must unite against exploitation and terrible conditions

DSM Reporters

The management of the Osun State College of Education (OSCOED), Ilesa would have had a lot to explain to anti-graft agencies, if we have responsible government, going by revelations of sheer exploitation of students under various guises. About four years ago, the institution was closed down for close to three months, the students union was banned and some student leaders rusticated by the management, when students protested against exorbitant hike in fees.

While the fees hike was not substantially reversed, the school management has not been able to justify the exorbitant hike of up to 100 percent going by terrible deteriorating conditions in which the students study and staff work. Classrooms are in their deplorable conditions, while workshops, laboratories and the school library are simply outdated and inadequate. There are not enough lecturers to teach students. According to some lecturers who spoke to our reporters during the last over three months lecturers’ strike in four state-owned institutions many departments have few teaching staff, yet they are to teach several scores of students.

Also, the management collects a dubious levy of N5, 000 from students undertaking teaching practice, when in reality the school and the government should be paying these students for doing unpaid teaching work in primary and secondary schools (most of which are understaffed). Meanwhile, aside the fact that teaching practice is part of tuition which students have paid for, it is the responsibility of the management and by extension the government to provide adequate facilities and resources for teaching practice, including allowance to lecturers who are to supervise and visit the students.

The current management, in collusion with the state government, has been using carrot-and-stick and divide-to-rule methods to maintain the status quo. Threats are issued to students who are raising these issues while some student leaders are playing lackey to the management, and helping it to divide students through NCE/Degree dichotomy. Students must come together, irrespective of academic program or means of admission to fight all anti-poor, anti-student policies of the management. Students must pressure the union leadership to call regular congresses to address these issues. It is to the advantage of management and corrupt student union leaders if students are divided along the NCE/Degree line. Genuine students’ union leaders must kick-start campaign against these and other policies of the management. Students’ union leadership must reignite the campaign for reduction of fees. Many students could not still pay these fees despite the concession of part payments, showing exorbitant nature of these fees. Regular, well mobilised and popularized congresses and parliamentary sittings (attended by students) must be called to address these issues.

Moreover, students and staff (academic and non-academic) must unite in struggle. The terrible state of facilities is affecting both staff and students. Staff unions must support genuine struggle of students, while students too must see the staff as part of the same class. Also important is the need for students and staff to understand that underlining cause of these terrible situations in the institution is the chronic under funding of education by the state government, which like every capitalist neo-liberal government, prefers to divert public resources to private hands. While the Osun State government spend several millions on allowances for politicians in power, only a meager sum of N5 million per month as running grants is given to each institution, while there are no serious commitment to provision of necessary facilities. Students and staff must demand adequate funding of education in the state, and democratic running of schools to include elected representatives of staff and students. Students and education workers must link their struggles with the overall struggle to change society, chase away all anti-poor parties in power (PDP, APC, etc) and enthrone socialist government in the interests of the poor and working people. This is the agenda of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN). We call on you to join us in this historic task.