It has now been five months since the 2022 ASUU strike that began on February 14. In the second week of July, after 5 months, the strike has received a lot of attention by many commentators in Nigeria. I suspect this is mainly because of the appeal made by Mr. President Muhammadu Buhari.
One or two people have raised the issue of alternative to strike action. Some question not only the patriotism of the ASUU and its members, but the intelligence of the ASUU and its members, with allegations of a lack of innovation in finding alternatives to the use of strikes. My objective here is to consider possible alternatives to the use of strikes to achieve the goals of the ASUU.
In 2020 ASUU was on strike for almost 9 months from March to December. During this period I wrote and circulated two articles. The first was titled: Are Our Public Universities Going the Way of Our Public Elementary and Secondary Schools? The second was entitled: The Public University Closed for Eight Months and the Story of King Solomon and Two Women.
When you add nine months in 2020 to one plus two plus three months in 2022, we have 15 months of strikes from March 2020 to August 14, 2022. The people admitted in 2019 are still at 200 level. There are 30 months from March 2020 to August 2022, out of which 15 months were for strike.
In that second article, (the public universities closed for eight months and the story of King Solomon and the two women), I compared the situation to that of Solomon and two women in the Bible. I requested that the woman who is actually the owner of the child should not allow her child to be killed even after handing over the child to another woman. This is my request still. Anyone who feels a sense of ownership of Nigeria’s public universities should kindly make sacrifices and stop what is happening.
I reflected on an earlier article on public universities going the way of public primary and secondary schools, as we received news, last month (June 2022), that Efe Babalola University is now ranked number one in Nigeria by Times Higher Education (the). ranked as . There are people in our university system who call these rankings unimportant, but they are really important. In the world that has emerged around global higher education and ratings of its products, the perception of higher education institutions in particular is important. I congratulate Afe Bablola University along with the President, His Excellency Mohamed Buhari, for being the first Nigerian university to come in the first 400 in that ranking. Nigeria has bent its fingers over the not so good position of its universities in these rankings over the years.
The future respect for the Nigerian university system will lie with its private universities. For a long time, the country has pretended to give equal status to its universities. The country has also recognized that its older public universities produce better graduates than younger universities and private universities. The country has also acted as if its old federal universities were superior to state universities. Some individuals, including employers of labour, interviewees of job seekers, postgraduate entrance examinations and interviewees, may observe that these assumptions may not be correct.
Today many university lecturers say this openly and in fact are already implementing preferences to send their children to private universities. The same applies to government primary and secondary schools, where government school systems with better qualified teachers happily send their children to private schools with less qualified teachers. Nigeria is indeed a smart country.
While this matter has recently become a “little” news story, it has not been well taken care of in Nigeria. The news is that the president of NUT in Kaduna state failed the exam for teachers in that state. If this news holds up, it means that the number one teacher in Kaduna State has failed elementary school (I hope), the level test we learn from, usually used in evaluating the skill gaps of our teachers. is done. Nigeria should appreciate its weight. We must take a closer look at union leaders and what they really symbolize and represent the profession they want to protect.
What does this have to do with universities? It is that some people are questioning the quality of our university lecturers, their commitment to the work, their conduct, not even doing the work they are assigned to do, but the universities are paid by universities, rather than on staff, but have no exemplary performance in teaching, research, and community service; Union leaders who want promotion without merit. Union leaders in universities who are guilty of the same charge of poor quality graduates who are not able to speak correct English, nor demonstrate quality refinement in conduct and language. Suppose lecturers were to be tested on the courses they teach, what would be the result?
But we are on ASUU strike.
Many years ago, when teaching was not a profession, teachers had a different nature. Many years ago, teachers used to pay the fees of poor but meritorious students and also students. Today, teachers accept money for recharge cards from pupils and students especially in tertiary institutions. But Nigeria has since developed with strange gods and peculiar values.
Nigeria as a country, and many Nigerians in their individual decisions and actions, act as if it has its own universe, and has its own realities that other countries and peoples have felt in pursuit of the development and well-being of their citizens. are of.
will continue tomorrow
Pro. Nawaziuba was the Vice-Chancellor of Alex Ekwume Federal University Ndufu-Alike from February 2016-February 2021 [email protected]