MADAGASCAR: Lecturers' union locks students out

Members of the university lecturers' and researchers' union Seces announced 'unlimited' strike action, locking all six universities, preventing students from taking examinations and withholding results of those who had already taken them, said press reports.

The teachers are claiming overtime payments and research allowances, and sufficient resources for the good functioning of the universities, reported Madagascar-Tribune of Antananarivo. The union is also demanding the resignation of the higher education minister, whom they accuse of having defamed them by saying they had lied about their overtime, said t/article/3-societe/6688-greve-du-seces--portes-closes-a-ankatso style=original]Midi-Madagasikara also of Antananarivo.

On Thursday 4 November unionists at Ambohitsaina closed the campus gates and blocked staircases, reported Midi-Madagasikara. There was no activity within the campus, except for a few students who had climbed over the wall with a ladder - a vain effort because there were no courses or exams taking place, said the paper.

"Those who have not yet taken their exams will not be able to; and those who have already taken them will not get the results because we shall freeze them," a member of Seces told Midi-Madagasikara.

The action would also disrupt the 2010-11 school year, he said, because the university entrance exams, scheduled for this month, would be cancelled. The teachers would meet the students and parents to explain their position.

Last Monday there were scuffles between groups of students at Ankatso, some supporting and some opposing the Seces action, reported Midi Madagasikara. The confrontation began when some students tried to unchain the gates.