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Reps to intervene in ASUP/COEASU strike

HOUSE of Representatives has mandated its Committee on Education to interface with the Federal Government and the unions in Polytechnics and Colleges of Education to resolve their ongoing strike.
The mandate followed a motion by Raphael Igbokwe (PDP-Imo) in Abuja on Wednesday which was unanimously adopted by the House without debate. According to Igbokwe, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education have been shut down for over 10 months.
He said the continued stay at home of students of the affected institutions would expose them to crimes. "The strike by the academic staff of polytechnics is not in the interest of our youths as it borders on their future," he said.
Deputy Chairman of the committee, Rose Oko (PDP-Cross River), told the House that the strike had not been given the attention it deserved by government. According to her, the ongoing strike is similar to that of the recent Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) protest that bordered on welfare of the lecturers.
It would be recalled that the lecturers embarked on strike in October 4, 2013 to demand for removal of dichotomy between HND graduates and those of Bachelor's degree. ASUP is also demanding release of white paper on the needs assessment of polytechnics, review of the Polytechnic Act and improved working conditions and infrastructure within the schools.
National Daily learnt that the Federal Government had fulfilled two of the demands - inauguration of governing councils and setting up of the needs assessment committee.
Meanwhile, policemen have been urged to be more humane in handling protesters in the country. An educationist, Peter Kudaisi, made the call while reacting in a telephone interview on Wednesday to the disrupted peaceful protest by the ASUP and COEASU by policemen in Abuja on Tuesday.
He noted that polytechnics lecturers are stakeholders in polytechnics education and that they felt the government was not taking them serious the way it should be.
"They have been on strike now for months and there was massive public outcry against what was going on, but nobody seems to be listening to them; in fact some people did not even know that they are on strike, because they don't give relevance to polytechnic education in Nigeria and that is mis-normal.
"That is why they are crying that there should be dichotomy between B.Sc and HND graduates because establishments and places of work now place university graduate above their polytechnic counterparts.

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