• Let’s say the impact on education is devastating
• ‘Prolonged closure will lower global rating’
• ‘Students are disoriented’
While the University Academic Staff Union (ASUU) suspended its nine-month strike, professors from various institutions said yesterday that the action had left the nation a colossal loss.
The suspension came after ASUU and the federal government resolved disputes that extended the strike. National President of ASUU, prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, announced the suspension of the strike at a press conference shortly after the session of the National Executive Council (NEC) of the union decided to suspend the extended strike action.
Ogunyemi, however, warned that if the government does not fulfill its part of the agreement, ASUU will continue the strike.
ASUU went on an indefinite strike on March 23rd over the government’s failure to implement agreements and resolutions with the union in 2009, as well as the introduction of a new payment system, the Integrated Payroll System and the Personnel Information System (IPPIS), for university teachers.
Although the union continued to develop an alternative platform, the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), the government’s unwillingness to accept a payment platform and meet their other requirements kept students out of school for nine months.
The strike paralyzed academic activities at national universities, despite pleas from stakeholders to the warring parties to reach a compromise and save the education sector.
Announcing the suspension, Ogunyemi said they decided to return to the classrooms and do their best for the students and the nation as a whole.
“We will return to renew the motivation and aspirations of our members and encourage our students to stand out, all in the expectation that governments at both the federal and state levels will sincerely fulfill their part of the deal,” he said.
Ogunyemi also appealed to parents to show more interest in their children’s living and learning conditions and to advocate for better funding, better laboratories and learning environments for their protégés. That, he said, would provide a comprehensive education that would allow graduates to compete with the rest of the world.
STAKEHOLDERS, however, complained that the strike cost the nation a great deal. Former Vice Rector, Bells University of Technology, Otta; Prof. Adebayo Adeyemi; Professor Ayodeji Olukoju of the University of Lagos and Dr John Nwobodo, a lecturer at the Law School of the Renaissance University, Enugu, described the strike as untimely and a stalemate in the sector.
Adeyemi said the strike would negatively affect foreign students who want to have a university education in Nigeria, as well as the global ranking of Nigerian universities. It would encourage future Nigerian students to seek education off the coast of Nigeria, thus encouraging the flight of capital to other countries.
For the students, he said, staying at home for so long would change orientation, and most would become a burden to parents.
He feared that some students would lose touch with the reality of their studies, while others would be affected by financial, environmental, social and family factors, which would prevent them from continuing after the strike.
Such a category of students, he noted, if not rehabilitated appropriately, could become social criminals.
“Unfortunately, in this country there is no monitoring by institutions and no government social agencies that can provide assistance or assistance to such a group. In the long run, society is the one that bears the burden of the negative consequences of leaving, ”he added.
Adeyemi also argued that the long-running strike would put research activities, which should be the main focus of academic pride, into the background.
To address the problem of the strike and ensure uninterrupted learning, the scholar said that a continuous academic calendar can be provided and maintained with mutual understanding among stakeholders.
Dr Nwobodo described the nine-month strike as an economic loss to the government and the nation. Nwobodo lamented that the academic year was lost due to the strike, while the government would have to pay teachers for months because they did nothing.
Development expert, dr. Chiwuike Uba said the economic and social costs of the strike were huge and indeterminate, noting that the opportunity costs would be delays in graduating students, loss of income for university-dependent businesses, declining quality of education and its impact on the general economy and demotivating workers. the rest.
He said: “It is shocking that, even when universities gain autonomy, they still depend one hundred percent on government subsidies for their programs and activities. Institutions could be expected to generate funds from their intellectual capital through research, studies, and innovation. There is no connection between our universities and industry in Nigeria. In other countries, universities attract huge research grants from industries and from their own social enterprises. What are the roles of Nigerian universities on national and subnational policies and development?
“Only in Nigeria do you see professors and other lecturers selling materials and textbooks. Some still teach by sharing the materials they are trained with. Which is all the more reason they are obsessed with strikes, which have led to an irreversible decline in the quality of education in Nigeria. Nigerian students spend over H2 trillion at universities abroad. In fact, during a recent strike, children of well-to-do parents left the country to study abroad. “
To Professor Femi Ajayi of Agricultural Extension, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, the strike could have been avoided and could have been stopped had the government responded quickly to teachers ’demands.
The program’s coordinator, Gender and Social Inclusion, Ibrahim Maryam, said the extended strike had led to an increase in the crime rate across the country.
University don from Federal University, Gusau, Zamfara state, dr. Abubakar Sadeeq Haruna, called on the government to create a favorable environment for the private sector to invest in tertiary education as a partial solution to facilitate huge budget allocations for education.
“There is no doubt that the period covered by the strike is huge and has crippled the ability to retain students. Although it is difficult to cover all the lost time, but little effort could be put into it. Universities should introduce virtual learning for students. “You should pay extra for lecturers, and make the university suitable enough for the lectures to start immediately,” Haruna said.