Lagos - The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo Chapter, on Wednesday disassociated itself from engaging in the propaganda of the hike in school fees by the institution’s authorities.
The Lagos State Government, through the Office of the Special Adviser on Education, had in a letter, cautioned Dr Adekunle Idris, ASUU-LASU chairman, on the issue.
It warned Idris to discontinue the campaign for a downward review of the fees payable at LASU, as it was capable of inciting students against the institution.
The union, however, in a letter titled `Re- The Need For Caution: The views of ASUU-LASU Congress,’ said it had not engaged in unbridled criticism of the fees.
The union, in the letter, said the resolution of its leadership on the increase in school fees and other issues, affecting the institution, were directed by the congress.
"In all our debates on the new school fees in LASU, our language has been refined, articulate and decent in both content and form.
We have never embarked on what you called `unbridled criticism of fees’. Considering the mission for establishing the university, our position on the current fees in LASU cannot be faulted,’’ it said.
The union said all issues relating to education, such as funding and students’ fees in public universities, including LASU, were subject of debates, because they were public issues and policies.
It stated that academics are public servants who are sufficiently equipped to comment, discuss and offer alternatives, relatives to public policies, as the 'Gown' should always guide the 'Town'.
"Tax payers, the good and hard working people of Lagos State, are responsible for the existence of LASU; therefore, debates on fees in LASU must continue by all stakeholders.
"This includes the public, civil society, market women, members of the House of Assembly, members of the State Executive Committee, and others; we are all stakeholders,” the letter said.
The union also said that it was not partisan as it was not a political party; and has no affiliate with any, but an academic union with the conscience of the nation.
It also dissociated itself from inciting the students to embark on protest on January 23.
"The union had advised the students not to go on the streets, but to embrace dialogue to address their demands,” it said.
The union urged the government to downwardly review the fees, as it had negative multiplier effects on all facets of the university, which includes the promotion and careers of staff.
The 21st century is driven by knowledge economies to be relevant.
"A state like Lagos must invest heavily in the education of its citizens, to surpass the recommended UNESCO recommendation and create solid economies,’’ the letter said.
It commended the government for embarking on massive infrastructure development in the institution, urging it to reduce the school fees, to enable the children of the masses to benefit from the facilities.
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