From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Teachers in public primary and secondary schools in Oyo State yesterday shunned the directives of the state government to return to schools.
The action is coming on the heels of the composition of a 31-member Education Reform Committee set up by the state government on the matter.
Deputy Governor, Chief Moses Adeyemo, who stood in for his boss, Senator Abiola Ajimobi disclosed this at a press briefing in Ibadan yesterday.
Listed as members of the commitee were an education expert who, the deputy governor said, would function as its chairman; two nominees each from the University of Ibadan and the National Parents/Teachers’ Association of Nigeria.
Adeyemo said that two members each were also being expected from the Nigeria labour Congress (NLC)/Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT); All Nigerian Congress of Principals of Public Schools (ANCOPPS); National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS); Market Advisory Council; Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN); and the Muslim community.
On Sunday, Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr. Toye Arulogun, announced the re-opening of the schools last weekend, adding however that 17 schools that participated in a demonstration on June 6 would remain closed. Against the backdrop of the announcement, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) Chairman, Mr. Waheed Olojede, said teachers would not return to classrooms because the strike had not been called off.
Labour leaders and government representatives are expected to meet today with a view to resolving the face-off between the two parties.
“We have received invitation from government to a meeting on Tuesday at the office of the Head of Service to the state government. We are prepared to attend the meeting. We have resolved that government should inaugurate the two committees on labour and salaries on Tuesday and to commence work immediately,” Olojede stated.
However, in some schools visited in Ibadan metropolis yesterday such as Idito High School at Erunmu in Egbeda Local Government, Bishop Philips Academy in Iwo Road, Oba Akinbiyi High School in Mokola, Ikolaba High School, Alengongo High School, Alengongo Primary School, IDC Primary School in Akobo no teacher reported for duty.
It was also observed that no pupil or student was sighted near any of the schools. Also, few workers that reported for duty at Government Secretariat in Agodi, Ibadan, were chased out of the secretariat by the monitoring team of the labour union.
The students had protested against government proposal to involve private partners in the running of 31 out of 631 public secondary schools in the state.
But, Arulogun explained that re-opening of the affected 17 schools would be based on written apology by students of the schools to the government through their school management.
The school, he said, would be re-opened when principals of the concerned schools submitted undertakings to the government on the issue.
Olojede said: “This re-opening of schools does not in any way affect the ongoing strike in the state. Our struggle towards payment of salary and pension arrears for workers and pensioners is still potent and intact.
“The entire workers in the state, teachers in particular, will not return to work. They should wait for the directive from the national NLC that asked them out of work since June 16. Under no circumstance should any worker go to work until otherwise directed by labour leaders in the state.”