By Usman Abdullahi Koli.
Like flat tires worry a vehicle and ground it to a standstill, incessant and avoidable industrial action has crippled already the fragile Nigerian education system. When it is needed to be back on track, who then cares to fix it? Last time, I read a comment made by the Education Minister while telling the students and parents the genesis of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). Malam Adamu Adamu said that a past government sat down and entered into an agreement with ASUU to pay over one trillion Naira. He wondered where to get the money from.
After series of failed meetings to end the strike, the lecturers remained adamant while the government sometimes shrugged and moved on. This can be deduced from Adamu’s position on our varsity system which has been left on its kneels and continues to suffer. One wonders, why is it that every common bureaucratic ideal thing or structural issue results to disagreement between ASUU and its employer –government. Remember, a payment platform has once been a source of strike –the controversial IPPIS.
Just after three days that ASUU suspended its 9 months strike which has caused the education sector especially tertiary institutions a great set back, the FG ordered the suspension of academic activities in Nigerian varsities. This happened like a stillbirth baby after nine months, though, caused by the second wave of ‘general’ Corona.
Nigerian Education sector has been in deep quandary for the past two decades especially when it comes to qualitative and sound education system. I once read in a report by same Malam Adamu Adamu who said that: “Some Graduates can’t write or read in English” this is worrisome. Then, who cares about this –ASUU or FG? It is not time for blame game, please.
Yes, it is worrisome!
What does the ASUU–FG rift means rating of Nigerian varsity? Universities have been shut for almost a year now, the students’ interests in learning have been truncated. All these are happening in a certificate oriented Country.
Shutting down varsity may not be the best option to go, we are old enough to live with Covid-19 and its guidelines. As a student, my school has been making everyone to follow the Covid-19 protocols. I believe others will do the same. As the unknown said “Strive for progress, not perfection.” The development of any country tilts towards the progress and the future of it’s youths who are now been neglected.
Where is the right to study for the students? After paying all the school fees, tuition payments and others. A four year course now takes about 6 years. How do we expect foreign students? Is there any provision for the right of students to study or learn in Nigeria?
Conclusively, the government of the day should remember that it was enthroned based on two priorities; security and education. They should act decisively and take measures. Remember the sons and daughters of the masses that brought you to power, which some of these children have lost interest or quit studying at all, your negligence caused the country to lose many professionals in different fields.
Our representatives, play your role, act, intervene and do the needful.
Students should take heart and keep praying, better things are on the way. I urge you to maintain peace and discipline, and not to cause traffic here and there. Remember the saying, learning and character.
Usman Abdullahi Koli, a student of Mass Communication Department, Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic Bauchi