It is almost a year now that academic activities in federal polytechnics across the country has been halted as a result of the prolonged strike action by the Academic Staff of Union of Polytechnics (ASUP).The most pathetic of all in the unfolding tragedy is the media blackout for the first four months of the strike.
The major part of ASUP demands is the repeal of the Polytechnic Act and also the implementation of the White Paper of Federal Government Polytechnic Visitation Committee. These two demands are very germane if truly we really need polytechnics that will play a vital role in the educational, scientific and technological progress of Nigeria. Polytechnics are established to train and produce the technical manpower necessary for execution of the nation’s development plans, goals and strategies.
One other demand of the striking polytechnic lecturers is the establishment of National Polytechnic Commission (NPC). This is because the National Board for Technical Education Act 9 of January 1977, which places Polytechnics under the purview of the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), has outlived its usefulness. Current demands on polytechnic education require an abrogation of the law.
But then, the core of the demands of the striking polytechnic teachers is the issue of underfunding. The results of manifest under-funding of our Polytechnics are to be found in the poor maintenance of existing facilities and infrastructures, of crammed spaces and unwholesome learning environment. Today, students contribute money to buy markers, white board, board, chalk and practical materials in their various campuses just as campus hostels are nothing to write about.
Now that the strike is nearing a whole year, ASUP needs to step up the struggle with mass protests to draw attention to the issues; the National Association of Nigeria Polytechnics (NAPS) must be ready to mobilize Nigerian Polytechnic students to compel the government to meet the demands of lecturers. It is only through this we can fight and win the struggle for revitalization of Nigeria Polytechnics.
Minna, Niger State