I have recently seen news alerts saying that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has finally called off its senseless industrial action (started 1st July 2013 to 17th December 2013) that kept Nigerian students at home for nearly six months.
Some Nigerians took to the streets to protest the action of the Nigerian government in not granting the wish of the ASUU members over an agreement that they said they signed with the Federal Government.
While I am not saying they do not have any agreement with the Federal Government. I also have a few questions and these issues need to come at this time to guide against future senseless actions like this.
My questions are:
1. How many of the people condemning the Federal Government have actually seen the agreement that ASUU signed with the Federal Government?
2. What exactly is in this agreement that is weighty enough to cause or warrant a strike action from ASUU?
3. All through the period of ASUU’s nearly six months strike, were they receiving their salaries or not?
4. If they were receiving salaries why did they still go on strike?
5. Did the students who were supposed to have been taught pay school fees or not?
6. If those students have already paid their schools fees why were they and their parents allowed to suffer such injustice?
If we think so well about these questions and answer them correctly then you will see that whatever issue, infrastructural development or any other, that the ASUU has raise is not enough reason to have resorted to an industrial action and to have stayed more than five months!
My other issue with the strike really, having realized that ASUU mainly pressurized the Federal Government to fund universities properly, is that we should come to terms with the fact! Is it the funding of the universities for infrastructure alone that will improve the quality of education in the country? We all know that the answer is a big fat NO!
Those of us who schooled in Nigeria in recent times, say in the last ten years, or those who are still schooling in Nigeria know the quality of some lecturers that these universities have. While I admit that there are still very outstanding ones, I don’t intend to be ridiculous to say that there are some of them who are struggling to speak English! This is a verifiable fact in several Nigerian institutions.
Moving away from the quality of lecturers, we must also tackle the issue of content being offered to these young and promising Nigerians. The only ones that seem very outstanding from Nigerian schools are those who have personally developed themselves or those whose courses are mostly practical! For most of the other students, they have retained or have been schooled with syllabus created or designed for those who went to school way back in the 70s or 80s. anyone who went to school in the 80s and has not taken an extra training since then can still confidently engage today’s students in a conversation and not feel intimidated. In fact, the one who went to school in the 80s will still be ahead of the one who is still in school since he has gone through it.
Oh, yes! You will also remember most of these lecturers are not open to suggestions from the students. It is purely a case of pouring out exactly what you took in. if you say anything different from what your lecturer taught you or what he has in his archaic notes, you are seriously tilting towards a carry over of that course to the next available semester to rewrite.
Lastly, there are more serious issues and they all can be dealt with without resorting to strike actions. I also hope you remember that a number of these schools are schools without a hostel for students on campus! What that means is that after nearly six months industrial which is not the making of the students, they are now left at the mercy of the landlords who will definitely bill for another year. This is more disheartening because some of these lecturers are also the landlords in their communities where the schools are resident! So after all the senseless strike, it becomes more senseless to see that the students who have already paid their school fees are the ones to suffer again!
Let’s have a rethink on some of the senseless approaches holding people to ransom unnecessarily in this country. I rest my case.
Fola Daniel Adelesi
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