Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics has condemned the conversion of some polytechnics across the country to universities.
Recently, the Federal Polytechnic of Ilaro, Ogun State, was converted to a University of Technology.
Similarly, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, converted Lagos State Polytechnic, Ikorodu, to a university of technology and the Colleges of Education in the state to Universities of Education.
Although these conversions were usually seen as a step in the right direction, however, national president of ASUP, Mr Anderson Ezeibe, in an interview, maintained that the government was supposed to empower the polytechnics and not convert them to universities.
He said, “Our position is that it amounts to a clear lack of vision.
“Polytechnics were set up for a purpose different from universities and as captured in the national policy on education.
“The question therefore, is, whether the purpose for setting up polytechnics has been defeated or is no longer relevant to the national economy.
Also, he hinted that the four-week notice of strike that the union gave the federal government to meet its demands would end on May 4, 2022.
“We gave a one-month ultimatum with effect from April 4th. The ultimatum will run out on May 4th and thereafter, our NEC will be convened for a decision.
“The government has to sit up and accord the right priorities to education. It is not just coincidence that all the unions in the tertiary education sector are agitated at the same time.”
He listed the union’s demands to include the release the N15bn revitalisation fund to address the decay in infrastructure in the sector; and payment of the arrears of polytechnic employees following the approval and implementation of new minimum wage.