On February 9, the federal government directed the closure of universities for three weeks over the general elections.
Adamu Adamu, the minister of education, had said varsities should be shut from February 22 to March 14 to allow students to participate in the elections.
However, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Congress of Nigerian University Academics (CONUA) kicked against the directive at the time.
The unions had argued that the order not only violated university autonomy but also disrupted the academic calendars of some universities.
In compliance with the directive, varsities in the country ordered students to vacate campus and asked them to resume after March 14.
But the students’ hopes of resumption suffered a setback when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) shifted the governorship and state assembly elections to March 18.
The elections were earlier billed to hold on March 11.
The development has forced many varsities to postpone their resumption dates.
TheCable Lifestyle examines some of the institutions that have announced new resumption dates below:
- University of Lagos (UNILAG) — March 21
- Lagos State University (LASU) — March 21
- Godfrey Okoye University (GOUNI) — March 21
- Bells University of Technology, Ota — March 20
- Redeemer’s University — March 20
- Federal University, Oye-Ekiti (FUOYE) — March 20
- Lagos State University of Education (LASUED) — March 20
More institutions are expected to announce their new resumption dates in the coming days.
The postponement of the resumption dates for varsities across the country has continued to elicit concerns among stakeholders in the education sector.
The development, many said, is unhealthy for the institutions still trying to settle down after last year’s eight-month strike by ASUU.
ASUU had embarked on the strike over the failure of the federal government to meet its demands.
Stakeholders observed that the frequent closure of varsities threatens the educational system.
LASU, for instance, was in the middle of its second-semester examination when Adamu ordered the three-week closure of varsities, forcing the institution to halt the exercise.
The election postponement by INEC means students of the institution would have to wait for one more week before continuing their exams.
Commenting on the development, Hassan Taiwo Soweto, the national coordinator of the Education Rights Campaign (ERC), lamented the effect of closing universities at intervals on the students.
“I would say it is unfortunate that there is a postponement of the elections. This means that public tertiary institutions will have to adjust their holidays to accommodate the new date leading to further prolongation of the academic calendar,” he told TheCable Lifestyle.
“At the end, it is Nigerian students who will end up bearing the brunt of all of these…at the end, you discover that the enormous sacrifice Nigerian students are making now on behalf of the nation is all for nothing. It is so sad.”
On his part, Niyi Sunmonu, CONUA’s national president, said the adjustment of resumption dates by universities is necessary for the safety of the students.
He, however, faulted how the government handled the situation.
“I have seen some universities extending their resumption date by one week. We have spent three weeks at home. looking at it from the security perspective, especially based on the outcome of the presidential and national assembly elections, one more week is not too much for the safety of the students,” he told TheCable Lifestyle.
“Even though we are of the opinion that this decision would have been left to the senates of each university in tandem with the autonomy.”
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