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Students’ absence stalls academic activities at MAPOLY

Despite the suspension of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) strike and the announcement of immediate resumption by the management of Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, students of the institution are yet to return.

Some have alleged that the absence of students on campus is responsible for the non-commencement of academic activities on campus.

The umbrella body for polytechnic lecturers, ASUP, suspended its two-month-long strike last week Tuesday, directing all its chapters to resume work immediately.

Following this suspension, the rector, Dr Samson Odedina has disclosed the institution’s readiness to resume academic activities.

ASUP MAPOLY was not officially part of the national industrial action as the management declared December 12 – January 7 as festive holiday for the students, not  until January 8th when an official statement was made by the erstwhile ASUP MAPOLY Chairman, Kola Abiola, who announced that the institution has joined the National ASUP body on the ongoing strike when he was being interviewed via a radio program.

Meanwhile, students already resumed back to school between 6th and 7th of January before the statement was made by the then ASUP chairman, Mr Kola Abiola.

While students of the institution were still contemplating if the suspended ASUP strike will affect their institution, the rector assured that all crises rocking the institution have been resolved.

Speaking in an interview, Odedina noted that lecturers have been paid their outstanding arrears, saying: “It has been resolved because our salary has been paid up to date … I had a meeting with members of the union on Friday, we are eager to resume, everyone trusts me as the new rector to make things happen. The governor already promised to come and see us, we are expecting him anytime from now. All the unions on campus are eager to set the ball rolling.”

He, however, declined to speak on students resuming in lieu of the elections.

Following this, an official statement was released by the management, ordering its students to return to campus to complete their registration ahead of the resumption of academic activities.

It would be recalled that some students are yet to complete their Second-semester registration before the National ASUP body embarked on strike on December 12, 2018.

The management directed all newly admitted students for National Diploma programs at Ogun State Polytechnic, Ipokia and Higher National Diploma programs at MAPOLY, Abeokuta to complete their registration from Monday 18th February 2019.

The statement reads, in part: “Similarly, all returning students, who are yet to complete the payment of their school fees are advised to do so and complete their registration without further delay to avoid penalty.

“By this development, all newly admitted students for National Diploma at Ogun State Polytechnic, Ipokia and Higher National Diploma at Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta are to complete their registration in MAPOLY as from Monday 18th February 2019.”

By Wednesday the 13th of February, 2019, lecturers working in the university resumed work, an indication of the commencement of academic activities.

The School PRO, Yemi Ajibola, while entertaining questions at his office maintained that all lecturers have resumed while students remain nowhere near the institution.

“Go and check your department, you will see lecturers there. They have been coming since ASUP suspended strike but there are no students to attend to. The lecturers are fully on the ground waiting for the students. It is now left for the students to resume, finish up their syllabuses and write exams,” Ajibola said.

An investigation revealed that the makeup of students seen on campus was mostly newly admitted students into National Diploma at Ogun Poly and Higher National Diploma into MAPOLY, who were in the process of registration.

Students were demanding for a release of a new academic calendar before they resume while some were hell-bent on resuming after the elections.

Returning students have been mostly absent from the school campus as they are still at their various homes. When asked why they have failed to return to school, several students highlighted the elections and the lack of an examination calendar as the reasons why they have failed to resume.

A student identified as Olamide Adelowo said: “The school management has failed us right from the onset, they were toying with the academic activities, stating that they are on work-to-rule in few weeks to examinations. Even if we are to resume, that will definitely be after the elections because most of us are tired of this promise and fail of a thing.”

Adisa Ayomide, an accountancy student, said that she wouldn’t just rush down as she did earlier in January.

“When the school management told us to resume on January 7th that academics activities would commence, I was in Oyo state learning craft, I rushed down to Abeokuta [as soon as] I noticed that the resumption date had gone viral, not knowing that it that the management didn’t take us seriously,” she said.

Esther Ogunlana feels she has lots of engagements she cannot call off until she is sure of resumption.

“While the management joined the National strike, I was engaged with so many things, now, the strike has been called off, how are we sure that MAPOLY crisis has been settled?”

Deborah Ajayi thinks “the school management will have to wait till when everything is settled because most students are waiting for the examinations timetable to be pasted.”

There are, however, indications that academic activities will resume fully next week as lecturers appear to be on the same page as the school management.

While having a conversation with some students, a lecturer (name withheld) said: “The lecturers are here on campus but those who need them, those they are here to serve are nowhere to be found. Some of them are saying elections, how many of them are going to vote? You better tell your mates to resume next week so that you can round up your courses and start preparing for exams. You know I am done with lectures for this semester but my students will have to come and defend the project they did in my course, next week.”

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