ASUU Strike: Unical Academic Calendar Has Been Disrupted – VC

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Professor James Epoke, Vice Chancellor, University of Calabar,
Professor James Epoke, Vice Chancellor, University of Calabar,

The Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, Professor James Epoke has said the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union Of Universities, ASUU has disrupted the academic calendar of the institution which was planned to end by September 2013.

Epoke who spoke in an exclusive interview with CrossRiverWatch said the strike has paralyzed academic activities in the University.

He was however quick to say that the intention of ASUU to embark on the strike was genuine and just due to the funding gaps facing the Nigerian university system.

Epoke said plans by the management of the university to commence a new session after a long break for both students and lecturers has been thwarted as a result of the strike, saying the school is presently bereft of student except for a few final year students who are writing their projects.

“The strike which is total has stopped all academic activities, all academic staff have withdrawn their services and we were supposed to start the second semester but we couldn’t so the students have to stay back at home and presently, the university is bereft of students except for some skeletal services here and there particularly students who are writing their project.

“The strike has totally grounded all academic activities in the institution, already the academic calendar is shattered, we were planning to see that we end the session by September this year and possibly see how we can commence a new session before the end of the year, but now it is not possible. we were to conduct our post UME Exams early this month, but that could not take place again as a result of the strike”

Asked whether the calendar can still be realized, he said “Depending on how long the strike stay, the session may run till next year”

On why the strike was embarked on this time, the Unical helmsman said, “I subscribe to what ASUU is fighting for because education in Nigeria needs a lot of funding, when you look to what our nearby Ghana is doing with education you will understand what ASUU is talking about.

“Ghana votes 31% of her annual budget to education whereas Nigeria is foot-dragging with 8%. Speaking from the point of knowledge you will know that what ASUU is demanding for is genuine and it’s for the good of the country otherwise why are we sending our children to Ghana? Ghana has prepared their own schools and we are sending our children there but we are not preparing our own schools. If things improve, students will enjoy because facilities will be there for them to learn and their education will be better. I think ASUU is right on their demands”

The VC said he hopes that the federal government will listen to ASUU and see how the issues are resolved so that academic activities can resume in the ivory towers.

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