#SchoolsReopening: ASUU’s intentions may be right, but how do we know this?

ASUU

At least the world can agree on one thing this time: ‘2020 came with a big blow that has thrown everyone off their feet‘. With the coronavirus disease, COVID-19, ravaging economies and changing work and lifestyles, 2020 is definitely not the kind of year anyone expected. But, while we are recovering from the heavy punch, we will need to understand intentions – this time ASUU.

For Nigeria, we have slowly regressed, returned to the ‘old normal’ and are hardly putting measures in place to ensure the coronavirus disease does not keep spreading. Fortunately, worship centres have opened with stiff guidelines, but markets places continue activities like COVID-19 is a myth. Schools resumed with students with little or no information on how to stay safe. What you will see is people without face masks, no sanitisers anywhere, and so on.

In June, the Federal Ministry of Education, through the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, shared guidelines to ensure the safety of students. In the document titled “Guidelines for schools and learning facilities reopening after COVID-19 pandemic closure” and submitted to the National Assembly, schools were charged to ensure that they create temporary isolation spaces and fully-equipped clinics before reopening. And, in August, the National Universities Commission (NUC) directed Universities and stakeholders to prepare to open their gates for students.

Reacting to this, Nigerians are asking on Twitter if the universities are ready to go back into work – a directive the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strongly antagonise.

In the report, the coordinator of the Lagos chapter of ASUU, Prof. Olusiji Sowande, said it would be suicidal if universities are to reopen, stating further that the government have not played their part in the guidelines they shared. Sowande added that the FG still owed lecturers’ salaries even after they have signed up to the unified pay system – Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS).

Nigerian students are reacting to this, arguing that ASUU are not getting this right.

With all the selfish-themed strikes and threats, it will take more than press releases for students to understand that ASUU is only thinking of safety and asking the government to play its part.

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