Francis Nwapa kw/07A/0933,
For and on behalf of over 10,000 affected graduates
5 October 2007
The declining state of Nigeria education system has continued to claim victims. The drive to raise funds internally has made several higher institutions of learning to resort to coming up with various programme (pre-ND, pre-degree, degree, diploma as the case may be) rather than interests of students for acquisition of education to set stage for career pursuit.
The latest victims of “money first” education policy with little regards to future of students are graduates of the then Tai Solarin College of Education (TASCE), in affiliation with University of Ibadan, who were expelled from the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) on the claim that the institution had been running an illegal programme. The institution has been now upgraded to an autonomous university, Tai Solarin University of Education (TASUED).
It is important to know that NYSC has been mobilizing from TASCE since 2002. Indeed, most of the graduates are currently either running one post graduate programme locally or internationally or fully employed in the labour market. No eyebrows were raised by either the Nigerian University Commission (NUC) or NYSC until July 3rd 2007 when a letter expelling the graduates from the Youth Service was issued by the NYSC at the behest of NUC.
The TASUED management has resorted to misinforming students and general public on the resolution of the crisis threatening careers of thousands of first degree graduates of the institution. The students are threatened as they cannot use their degrees unless they have completed their NYSC service or been granted a NYSC exemption certificate
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Oyekanmi Olukayode Oyesiku, has reduced the crisis to simply one of the NYSC expulsion. He was reported in The Nation newspaper on Tuesday 11th September, 2007 after a mass protest comprising the affected corps members and over 6,000 students in 300 and 400 levels on September 10th 2007, that the issue the students were protesting on was beyond the school management and the state government and that it can only be resolved between NUC and NYSC.
The general public should be aware that while one issue is the NYSC expulsion, there is also the question of the legitimacy or legality of the institution certificate as regards the NUC’s position that the school is illegal. This has pathetically placed not only the current set of dismissed Corps members but also all the past and incoming graduates of the TASCE/UI joint programme in a hopeless situation.
This nefarious act must be publicly criticized and immediately probed into, as over 3,000 affected Corps members are on the street with undetermined fates and jobless. Most are dependent on ageing parents who have passed through hell, triggered by ailing economy in the last 4 or 5 years, to train their wards to the present stage. One hopes this does not lead to increase in crime rate in the quest for survival.
Just two weeks ago another 4,000 students completed the studies to join already over 3,000 undecided graduates on a journey to wilderness, creating a state of anarchy in the larger society.
The TASUED management must be probed for jeopardizing the life of over 10,000 affected students, after collecting various obnoxious fees for 4 to 5 years.
To add insult to injury the management criminally released a false report in The Guardian newspaper of Thursday September 20, 2007 that NUC had approved the recall of the expelled Corps members and that the Dean student’s affairs had taken the letter to NYSC office, Abuja. Considering the character of the management, it is not out of place to conclude that this is an antic to demobilize the protesting students. Already, the NYSC has started mobilization from various institutions across the country for batch ‘B’ 2007 except TASUED.
The management also claimed in the same report that Corps members also tendered an apology letter to the state government and school authorities for the peaceful protest they held on September 10. The fact of the matter is that the school management simply recruited some elements to write one fictitious letter which they circulated to all heads of department apologizing profusely on behalf of the corps members. This is a malicious and deceitful statement because we do not and will never owe any one apology for protesting peacefully on an issue that would naturarily resolve to violence any were in the world due to its sensitivity to ones careers, but was maturely handled by the corps members.
NUC and NYSC management must also be probed as to why they have allowed the so-called “illegal” programme to have existed since 1998, causing so many students to have fallen into the grave of illegality, and having constantly mobilized from the institution since 2003 when they had the first set of graduates mobilized and never raised any eyebrow.