Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM



(By ERC Reporters)

With unprecedented exploitation of students and repression by the management of Osun State College of Technology (OSCOTECH), Esa-Oke, students have every right to struggle. While the management of the school claimed that hand-outs are not compulsory, the same management has refused to stop chronic exploitation of students by lecturers selling these handouts because it is benefiting from this process. For instance, it is reported that regular commissions are paid to departments and faculties by lecturers, who sell handouts. This means that the handout sale is institutionalized, and is another means of extorting more money from students to run the departments and by extension, the institution. This handout gives the management opportunity to run away from addressing the infrastructural need of the school such as provision of adequate and well-stocked libraries (both central and departmental). This handout policy also means that lecturers, rather than fighting for improvement in working conditions will see exploitation of students as a cheap means of resolving their welfare issues. This will lead to division between students and staff.

For the students, the handouts, aside being instrument of exploitation, will also lead to falling standards in quality of education they receive. This is made worse by the fact that students are being graded not by their brilliance but by their adherence to the handout policy. Students must therefore begin the campaign and struggle for end of handout system, and other exploitative policies like money-for-mark and unaccounted-for departmental dues. While we will enjoin students to support genuine struggle of lecturers for improved working conditions, we will however task students to vehemently oppose any attempt by any lecturer to extort them.

The management has employed paramilitary shock troopers like Man O’war and Cadets to terrorize and frighten students from opposing its anti-student policies. This is coupled with various undemocratic policies such as interference of the school management in the student union affairs, which has ensured emergence of pro-management union leaders, who cannot fight for students’ interests. While the undemocratically appointed paramilitary shock troopers continue to harass students and met out jungle justice, the student union leaders continue to look the other way. The student union has not called a Congress for years to address these issues.

In order for students to defend their interests and reverse these horrible policies, students must begin a campaign for immediate convocation of student congress as a way of addressing these issues. Genuine student activists and organizations must form a left platform and begin campaign through press releases and leaflets, class-to-class campaign, rallies, symposia and departmental/faculty meetings, etc. to popularize the struggle. The staff unions must also openly oppose all anti-student policies being implemented by the management and some lecturers. Staff unions should lead struggle, along with students, for massive improvement in facilities and infrastructures, which are chronically deficit in the school. These are the only sustainable way of guaranteeing better conditions for students and staff.