Monday, July 9, 2012

FUTA action must not gobble up the more serious Education Debate



The strike action by FUTA from July 4th 2012, has paralyzed the State University system. There are no lectures, and students have effectively been sent home until this is resolved. To cap it all, FUTA has drawn attention to a petition they have drafted, for which they are attempting to get a Million signatures. If you cut to the chase, they will drop all these sideshows, once they receive their demands. They will disappear into the woodwork, and as a stake holder in the Education debate, will withhold discourse in case they become part of the problem itself.

As a rule the Trade Union, which is what FUTA is, is both part of the problem and part of the solution. The problem being they have a narrow self interest and the solution being they are the ones providing the critical information with history and facts to strengthen the case for education reform. I agree that as the Education debate is multifaceted, the inputs from FUTA and the Teachers Unions at secondary and primary schools are vital in coming up with a constitutional amendment. There was recently even the statement last week in Parliament by the Leader of the Opposition that we must have an Amendment to the Constitution, to grant free access to Education as a Fundamental Human Right! The state then has to guarantee this to the citizen or to the youth. Quality and real access is another matter.

We know what FUTA want, why are they mixing it with a one million signature petition, for the sake of Education for all? They must concentrate on achieving their demands first. Once achieved, we can fight the unified battle for Education together with all stakeholders, as one common cause to improve the access to education. There are over a thousand organizations that will join in the common fight for better education, in both the private and public sector. If they work together they will be able to put sufficient pressure to achieve their demands as that only comes once in a life time.

What is the petition going to achieve if it is just sponsored by FUTA? Why should they just take credit for a long simmering problem. Only when FUTA action is resolved should we jump into the education debate, so that then, we can have their full attention, not sidelined by their priority which is achieving their demands FIRST. There is a crying need for urgent action on Education as a whole. All the focus must be directed there. This CANNOT be achieved if the FUTA demands obscure the main purpose. There is no question that the media it deserves will also get overshadowed. 

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