Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union, COEASU, on Thursday suspended its seven-month-old strike for three months to allow the Federal Government look at their grievances.
With this palatable news, all public colleges of education currently shut as a result of the teachers strike will be reopened on Monday, 21st July, 2014 said President of the union, Emmanuel Asagha.
Suspension of the strike followed a meeting between the leadership of the union and Minister of Education, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau in Abuja.
Asagha on Thursday at a meeting convened by Governing Boards of federal government’s colleges of education, National Commission for Colleges of Education, NCCE, and provosts of federal government’s colleges across the country with the teachers agreed to suspend the strike for three months.
Conditions for suspending the strike which was approved between the union and government today are that there shall be no victimization of the teachers on the basis of the strike; that salaries of the teachers so far withheld would be released in bulk; that circular on the implementation of migration of the lower cadre would be released; and that government would set up a technical committee to consider pending issues yet to be attended to by government.
Suspension of the strike was the second landmark achievement by Shekarau, who had spent barely nine days in office. Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, ASUP, had last Saturday suspended its 10-month-old strike as a result of the Minister’s intervention.
At the meeting with COEASU, Shekarau said: “My concern is that this Ministry has no business remaining if teaching and learning is not taking place out there in the class. The business of managing education must translate into teaching and learning. If learning and teaching are not taking place, even in the remotest primary school anywhere in Nigeria, it is my cup of tea; it is my concern and concern of the Federal Ministry of Education and the concern of the Federal Government.
“It is out of this concern that I felt we need to reach out and find what exactly their grievances are. They have been out of class for some time and I am sure there are reasons for or against being out of class. More importantly, when you are talking of teacher education, the colleges of education produce our teachers. And, as we all know, the common statement in the education industry is “no nation can grow higher than the quality of its educational system.
“And, no educational system can grow higher than the quality of its teachers. This therefore being the case, it implies no nation can grow or develop higher than the quality of its teachers because that is the engine room of national growth and national development. If you want patriotic citizens, you must have patriotic teachers because only a patriotic mind can produce another patriotic mind. And, part of this patriotism means the wellbeing of the teachers, the job satisfaction,” he added.
Asagha told journalists after the meeting: “We’ve fought a good fight; we brought ourselves this far. The new Minister has exhibited sincere commitment towards the resolution of the other lingering issues. We believe that the way he has spoken with upmost commitment, with the fear of God, because he emphasised that so much in his speeches; we believe that the issues will be resolved in no time. We have been told that a meeting has been called with the Salaries and Wages Commission as regards migration, even as per tomorrow, that shows that they are committed to resolving the issues.
“He has also told us that there is nothing that can challenge Presidential approval (to one of the union’s demands). We are sure, it would be resolved.
With this assurance, as much as we are so sure, we still give some spaces for some errors here and there, that is why the temporary climax will be such that we’ll be suspending for the period of, say, three months. I would have said three months and seven days, but, we have removed the seven days, we are allowing it for three months. And, with effect from Monday next, all schools will resume,” Asagha added.
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