Stakeholders of the recently upgraded Osun State College of Education, Ilesha have protested the conversion of the institution over the lack of consideration of the students and staff of the school.
They accused the government of non-transparency in the conversion process, noting that the upgrade might affect the job security of the current staff of the institution and its current students, including their results, and transcripts, among other issues.
The bill for the conversion of the College of Education to a university was approved by the Osun State government in March, while the bill for its upgrade was passed into law in August in August 2022.
Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State, following the approval, set up an 11-man Implementation Committee to follow up on the upgrade of the College.
The Committee which was set up to develop an academic brief and physical master plan for the new university, among other things, was headed by Professor Olu Aina.
Other members of the committee include former Health Minister, Prof. Isaac Adewole, former Vice-Chancellor of Osun State University, Prof. Labo Popoola, former Vice-Chancellor of Tai Solarin University, Prof. Yemisi Obilade and founder, Lead City University, Ibadan, Prof. Jide Owoeye.
The Osun State House of Assembly, while passing the bill verified that the newly upgraded institution would serve as a research centre of academics in the country.
Current students of State College of Education, Ilesa, in September, however, protested the conversion of the college by the Osun State Government, calling out the government for insincerity.
The students accused the government of "awarding institution under the clear condition of Private Public Partnerships which is not favourable to the current students in terms of exorbitant fees that we will be asked to pay after the completion of the whole process.”
Members of the Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union ((COEASU) also staged a protest to this effect.
The National President of COEASU, Dr Smart Olugbeko, who led the protest, maintained that some issues resulting from the upgrade were yet to be addressed.
He stated that the lot of the staff and students of the school must be decided to avoid issues in the future.
Also, on Monday, the National Union of Nigerian Students (NANS) Southwest noted that other than the increase in socio-economic activities in the host community due to the upgrade, other issues will also come up.
“Perhaps, the greatest of all considerations and the best thing everyone involved in the project can do right now is to exercise caution and incorporate all necessary stakeholders.
“The Interim management, the Alumni leadership, the Students Union, NANS Southwest, the staff Unions, especially the Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union are few of the germaine stakeholders that are yet unrepresented in the committee and should also be approached logically as we believe that they too may have one or two contributions for a positive way forward.
“The above groups remain fundamental and they have the advantages of number, experience and peculiar knowledge that will palpably improve on the ongoing quality of work and the expected result.
"Failure to do the above will be tantamount to the proverbial barber that wants to cut hair without the customer’s consent. Needless to say that such a barber is causing chaos, confusion and crisis,” a statement signed by NANS Southwest (Zone D) Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Adegboye read.
NANS further called for transparency at every stage of the conversion, “obtaining documents from the previously existing institution in the future and other cogent peculiarities must also be addressed,” it urged.
The Osun State Commissioner for Education, Folorunso Bamisayemi, when contacted said the government met with on the raised issues.
The Commissioner in a text message "we met with all stakeholders yesterday at a meeting called by the Speaker of the House of Assembly and all their fears were allayed. So there is no problem at all with the establishment and implementation of the new University.”
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