Friday, 18 October 2013

Of ASUU, FG and the falling (or fallen?) standard of education in Nigeria

One popular joke on social media platforms goes thus "ASUU and thunder, who strike pass?" Funny as it may seem, it points to the fact that the Academic staff union of universities never seem to be tired of calling for strike action whenever it feels it needs to drive home some points.
Throughout my sojourn as an undergraduate, I have experienced three prolonged ASUU strikes and two warning strikes. The story has always been the same, its either the federal government attends to us and implement this and that, we won't shift grounds. ASUU has always gone on strike and their demands have not been met so one wonders why they take the same route since it ends up in a cul-de-sac!
Taking a look at some of the issues ASUU keeps talking about like more funding, I feel universities should look for ways to generate internally generated fund. A walk into many higer institution will be met with a number of banks, lock up stalls, telecommunication masts and other businesses for which rents are being collected. How are the monies spent?
On the issue of retirement age, I wonder why we keep blaming politicians for holding on to power forever when the same scenario is playing out in our ivory tower; if the old lecturers have refused to retire until they get to a certain age, how would young graduates get the opportunity to lecture? The mantra is that the standard of education is falling, for me, it has fallen, it has totally collapsed, it has crumbled and everybody has their share of the blame.
Some of the lecturers have part time jobs in private universities so in the end, how is the interest of the students in public universities who they say they are fighting for protected?
How many ASUU members are Phd holders from recognized institutions? How many of them have published papers in international and reputable local journals? Do lecturers not plagarize too? Do they not pass the bulk of the laboratory work to the students and take credit for the work? How many lecturers know what they are doing? We see a lot of lecturers selling handouts to students because they are too lazy to lecture, they exploit these students in the name of providing materials. How many lecturers notes are in line with what obtains in the 21st century?
Students have a lot of work and research to do, we can't be taught everything in school. Time spent on social networks can be used to develop oneself. Students should strike to do more research, read journals and textbooks instead of depending solely on what the lecturer teaches.
The federal government should not keep abdicating its responsibilities. Basic infrastructures should be provided. The country does not need proliferation of universities since the ones on ground are in a state of decay. The existing universities should be revamped, laboratories and libraries should be well equipped and stocked so graduates would be able to hold their own in any part of the world.
ASUU should look for other means of channeling their grievances other than incessant strike actions and there should be attitudinal change on the part of government, relevant stakeholders and students.
Let's get talking................

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