The Lingering LASU Strike

Despite a directive by the management of the Lagos State University (LASU) that striking students and lecturers of the institution should go back to classes, academic activities have not started in the school. Many stakeholders had thought that the reduction in tuition by 30 to 60 per cent as recommended by a panel and accepted by the Lagos State government would bring the action to an end.

The reason the students ignored the management’s directive could be traced to the Student Union president, Nurudeen Yusuf, who declared that the new fees regime was not acceptable to the students. He said that the students were willing to resume but that they were not satisfied with the fees fixed by the management and advised that it should be further reduced because not many students could afford it.
For their part, the lecturers said that they went on strike for three demands – it was not for school fees alone. The lecturers stated that their demands included reduction of fees to N50, 000 across the board, abrogation of “no vacancy, no promotion” policy, and the implementation of the University Miscellaneous Provision Act of 2012.
The lingering strike caused by the exorbitant school fees regime put in place by the state government should worry everyone familiar with the philosophy behind the establishment of the institution by the then Governor Lateef Jakande-led government, which made free education its priority at all levels. LASU was formed in 1983 in line with the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s philosophy that even the poor has a right to sound education as well as for the development of learning and establishment of academic excellence. The university developed over the years as one of the best state-owned institutions that cater for a huge population of over 61,000 enrolled in both fulltime and part-time programmes: diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate.
However, events in the last few years have suggested that the institution is becoming unaffordable especially to the children of the poor, no thanks to the Babatunde Fashola government that has consistently jacked up the school fees. Apart from the very high fees regime created by the state government, there has been no deliberate effort on the part of the successive governments since Chief Jakande left office to sustain the main selling point of the school: “for development of learning and establishment of academic excellence”. It is more outrageous to note that a state managed by a government on the platform of a “progressive party” is the government that is trying to undermine the progressive ideology of access to good education irrespective of one’s social and economic status.
We are in solidarity with the students and lecturers in their struggle to return the institution to its original values.


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