* AREGBESOLA MUST MEET THEIR DEMANDS NOW * WE CONDEMN POLICE BRUTAL ATTACK OF STUDENTS PROTESTING IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE STRIKING LECTURERS AT OSCE ILESA TODAY * RELEASE THE FOUR ARRESTED STUDENTS NOW
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) supports the strike action began yesterday Monday 11 March 2013 by lecturers of Osun State tertiary institutions. The strike has successfully stopped academic activities in the four state-owned tertiary institutions: Osun State Polytechnic Iree, Osun State College of Technology (OSCOTECH) Esa Oke, Osun State College of Education Ilesa and that of Ila-Orangun.
We call on the Aregbesola government of the State of Osun to immediately meet the demands of the striking teachers so that academic activities can resume in the four institutions. Instead of engaging in empty propaganda and "white elephant" education reforms, we demand real and genuine reforms in the education sector which would see significant improvement in funding, provision of teaching facilities and employment of adequate workforce.
We also call on the Aregbesola government to stop attacks on the striking lecturers and students solidarising with them. On Tuesday March 12, 2013 at the Osun State College of Education Ilesa, students of the institution protested in solidarity with the striking lecturers. They were however brutally dispersed with teargas by armed police. Also at least four of the protesting students have been reportedly arrested. We condemn this kind of attack on the democratic rights of protest by a government claiming to be "progressive". We demand immediate release of the four students.
We offer our solidarity to the striking lecturers and the Council of Academic Staff Union of Tertiary Institutions leading the strike. While supporting their key demands against taxation, on the non-contribution of the state government towards the pension scheme as well as on retirement age, we call on the striking lecturers to also stand against fee hike and for adequate funding of education and for democratic management of schools. Without adequate funding of education and democratic management of schools, none of the improvement of working conditions being sought would be achieved on a lasting basis.
We call on the lecturers not to limit the action to a mere stay-at-home strike. They should organise a series of mass activities to mobilize the support of students, parents and public, and thereby mount a sustained pressure on the government to meet their demands.
We place the responsibility for the strike and the inconvenience being suffered by students as a result on the shoulders of the Governor Aregbesola government of the State of Osun. The striking lecturers had given ample warning with series of partial strike over the last three weeks. If the Aregbesola government was sensitive and responsible to its duties towards the education sector, this was a sufficient enough time to have met the demands of the striking unions.
Hassan Taiwo Soweto