11 January 2019

Nigeria: OAU Students Protest Semester Exams Amid Strike

The students of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, on Thursday evening gathered in their numbers to protest against the semester examinations for 2017/2018 academic session.

According to the university time table, students are expected to start examinations on Monday, January 14, despite the strike of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) which has denied the students of being properly taught.

The ASUU in the school had warned the institution against conducting examinations when 70 per cent of the courses have not been taught.

Lecturers of the university are divided over the strike as those of them in the parallel Congress of Universities Academics (CONUA) refused to join in the nationwide strike of ASUU, which began on November 4.

The management of OAU is also bent on institutionalising a stable academic calendar, despite the fact that students in some departments like Chemical Engineering and Botany have not been receiving lectures for the past two months.

However, the students of the institution, after a public meeting organised by the Students' Union Committee, resolved to embark on a peaceful protest against what they tagged, 'stubborn and inconsiderate' authority.

The students marched from one hall of residence to another.

Speaking with PREMIUM TIMES during the protest, a student who spoke under the condition of anonymity to avoid victimisation said, "I am in my final year at Electrical and Electronic Department and we did not have the minimum of 12 weeks teaching and one compulsory lecture free week before we can proceed to examination as provided in the university regulations. The management should not in the name of stable calendar jeopardize the lives of students".

Another student said, "Some department have fixed lectures for Saturday and Sunday. Yet, students are expected to be in the examination hall on Monday. We are protesting not because we are lazy but because we are concerned students. The university should stop legalising illegality."

"We have not taken 70 per cent of lectures, as ASUU began strike in the 5th week".

Citing the English Department as example, a 100 level student who did not want his name on print wondered how examination will hold for courses they were not taught for once.

"There are about seven or eight lecturers taking EGL102 and five of these lecturers are members of ASUU. Among these five is the coordinator of the course so who will set question. In fact two literature courses examination have been cancelled for those in 300 level."

Rather than address the issues raised by the students and ASUU, the university management, in a statement signed by its Registrar, Margaret Omasule, warned the students against boycotting or engaging in any action that may disrupt the examination and stable academic calendar agenda.

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