HomeLocal NewsCOEASU strike: Provost FCET Bichi reacts to allegations

COEASU strike: Provost FCET Bichi reacts to allegations

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The Provost, Federal College of Education (FCE), Technical, Bichi, in Kano State, Prof. Bashir Muhammed-Fagge has reacted to allegations made by the academic staff of the College against the College management.

The Provost gave his reactions at a news briefing on Thursday, in Bichi, to the allegations and warning strike declared by the Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU), FCET Bichi branch.

NAN recalled that on April 13, the Chairman,  FCET Bichi branch of COEASU, Muhammad Salisu, addressed newsmen and announced their decision to embark on a one-week warning strike starting from the same date.

Salisu said the one-week industrial action was to draw the attention of the government to intervene and compel the management of the school to address what, he described, as a poor learning environment, including pervading insecurity, among other issues.

The other issues include; non-remittance of N25 million outstanding staff multipurpose cooperative society deductions, non-payment of 10 months peculiar academic allowance, decay in academic infrastructures and environment.

The Provost said they were on top of the situation to address issues raised by the Union, adding that they have already put all mechanisms in place to address the issues.

Muhammed-Fagge said the management was already in negotiations with the union to resolve the issues amicably.

According to him, “there is bound to be disagreement or skirmishes between the employer and employee. because the relationship between the duo is usually characterized by these, but it is always an issue of resolution through dialogue.

“On the claims of falling standards of education in the institution, I want to vehemently disagree with them on that. When I joined as the Provost of the institution, there were only six lecturers with PhDs, but today we have over 200.

“The same thing with the infrastructures. If you go round the school, no single building has not been renovated. And we have built a new permanent site with five new schools, which will be commissioned soon.

“We have e-library, laboratories, our lectures are prompt, we have increased the number of academic staff from 250 to about 750. And students who graduated were trained with skills acquisition to the level that when they graduate they can employ themselves and need not go and seek a job.

“Among the issue raised also is cooperative society that the Management is owing to them N25 million. Between 2015 and 2016, there was the introduction of a Tertiary Single Treasury Account (TSA).

“And the personnel cost of all Federal colleges were slashed down and all were paying incomplete salaries. But in this college, we paid a complete salary up till the end of the period.

“We have never experienced a salary shortfall. As management, we sat down with the union that deduction should not be remitted, but the main salary be paid to staff and when the salary shortfall is paid then we pay the deduction.

“Federal government later paid the shortfall but paid 50 percent. Any time the Federal government pays the remaining 50 percent, we will pay them.

“We are still awaiting the Federal government to pay the remaining 50 percent. They are supposed to be aware that the deduction was held by the Federal government. And it has started paying.

“There is also the issue of security and cleaners. All security and cleaners were outsourced. Since 2004, the FG has not been giving money. So what the institution did was to use the internally generated revenue to settle them.

“Unfortunately, with the COVID-19, the school was shut down and the shortfall accrual as it is that the students have not paid their school fees.

“On the issue of Teachers’ Registration Council, (TRCN), there were issues concerning the payment. The students were supposed to pay for the TRCN. What the students pay for the registration is not enough.

“Therefore, what the college decision was to use the overhead to settle the TRCN. Unfortunately, with no revenues to pay the security and cleaners and other issues such as fuel, we use the overhead to pay and are left with no money to pay the TRCN.

“But the college has put all the mechanisms in place to fully fund the TRCN and allow the students to obtain the TRCN certificates.

“Another issue is non-payment of the allowance, the peculiar academic allowance. It is an allowance which the government is funding and there is already a negotiation going on between the FG and the mother union. It cuts across all the colleges in the country.

“In order to raise the monies to address the issues that we discussed during a meeting we had, we set up a task force committee. Because we realised that as of last week, over 1,300 students of the college have not paid their school fees as they were writing their exams.

“When we calculated it the overall was more than N70 million and the total amount of requests by the union was N38 million. So, if we get the students to pay their school fees, we could be able to address all the demands by the union.”

He said that all issues raised by the union had been tackled by the management and they had no effect on the quality of students from the institution, adding that the institution is an example as others were looking to emulate it.

Muhammed-Fagge explained that the issue of no work, no pay would be the last option, if all others had been exhausted, saying, “because we are in negotiation now and since they didn’t embark on a full-blown strike. (NAN)

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