Students speak on the state of Nigeria’s educational system and the ongoing ASUU strike
Looking at the incessant industrial actions embarked upon by different academic bodies, from ASUU to ASUP and others, and the recent call made by Senator Oluremi Tinubu representing Lagos East, in the Senate for a state of emergency to be declared in the Nigeria education sector, the complaints by many employers of labour that Nigeria graduates are unemployable amongst other crucial matters affecting Nigerian students in public tertiary institutions.
That leaves one wondering why is it that our over paid National Assembly members and other stake holders in the educational sector seem to be comfortable with the situation, sitting on a keg of gun powder that may explode anytime, forgetting that the foundation of any country is the education of its youths.
Presently, in most developing countries like India, Malaysia and others it take less than three (3) years to complete a Bachelor’s degree. In case you don’t know in Australia you spend just 2 years. But here in Nigeria, we waste so much time; from unnecessary elective/borrowed courses, to obsolete textbooks and irrelevant researches that is not in tune with today’s realities, to playing politics with the future of innocent young citizens who are supposed to be properly equipped to see and forestall future challenges that this country may be faced with amongst others.
Of a truth, is there actually any hope for students or parents who cannot afford to send their wards to a private institution or outside the shores of this country to further their studies, someone will say ‘yes with God all things are possible’ thanks for the answer, that I already understand and I believe in God too, but the reality is when a graduate from a private university, foreign university and public university apply for a position in an organization, who do you think the HR person would want to considered first, looking at from the angle of exposure, competency and others…? Let’s leave that for another day.
However, we have decided to do speak with some Nigerian students on how they feel about the current state of Nigeria’s educational sector, looking at it from the angle of the ongoing nationwide strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
Seeing the implications caused by Academic Unions, do you think they play major role in the development of education in this country?
ATUEYI STEPH NCHEKWUBE:
Odumegwu Ojukwu University
The Academic Staff Union of Universities in Nigeria (ASUU) plays a major role in the development of Education in Nigeria. If you look at some Universities in the country, you will find out that the Government has partially abandoned some schools. About 38 universities in the country have increased the school fees due to poor funding. Government should take care of these people involved in the development of education in the country and stop depriving them of the necessary things needed to improve in developing the Universities.
These people see that students are being equipped with the vital information regarded to academy, conducive environment, availability of materials both in practical and non-practical aspect of learning. If their salaries are not properly paid, we the students will bear the cross. In some Universities due to inadequate facilities, the students are now taking responsibility to facilitate the needed things in the school at their own cost. Textbooks are being imposed on the students whether you are offering the course or not and you must buy it due to their salaries not being paid. Lecturer uses the system as source of revenue to increase their standard of living.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities in Nigeria (ASUU) is fighting a good fight for the betterment of the students and government should listen to them for the sake of the future.
In that ASUU covers the staff members of each University, do you see them working in favour of the students?
The ASUU strike is not going to be benefiting the student in reality. First, the timing of the strike is totally wrong, exams are in a month’s time; why not strike the beginning of a new session if at all they have to go on strike.
I understand the strike is for the development and improvement of the educational system, but in reality, it does not really get to that. Striking is over flagged and very common now, no longer a threat.
Motivation is very important, but if the needs are not meet on time, it does not also mean the lives of every student should be jeopardized. Keep the students out of the street!!! Everything is based on assumptions, but in reality it is different.
Having witnessed a lot from academic setbacks, would you allow the next generation attend School in this country?
PhD Student, University of Ibadan
If I have my way I won’t allow my children generation to study in Nigeria because of what is going on in our country. In regards to our education, our government is not encouraging education in this country. From our leader’s quotas, they are not encouraging education in our country. Our leaders, most of their children are not studying in this country. I was in Tanzania some months ago, all PhD students in Tanzania, PhD students in South Africa, government sponsor their programmes fully but here in Nigeria, you are the one that will hustle for your rebrand. You will pay your school fees you pay your research fee and everything. Go to Tanzania, they sponsor them unlike here in Nigeria. Our government do not take education seriously, be it the State or the Federal level, they do not take education seriously.
As a Nigerian student, what do you think is the major problem militating against the academic sector at large?
Geographic Education. University of Lagos
There are lots of problems militating against the sector from funds, poor facilities, lecturers not being paid well, to poor research and so many others affecting the sector. For example, facilities lead to practical, they are not well equipped. You go for a practical and you do not see the major thing, it is not good thing for students it won’t enhance good learning. Students won’t learn well without seeing what they are learning about. For example, you do theory now, when are you going to do the practical? How are you going to do the practical when you do not have things for the practical? That is a major effect on education. The government should equip more.
What has been the implication a as result of the indefinite strike by ASUU body?
Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State
The implication is that Nigerian education will be drawing backward because initially Universities are not in uniform academic calendar. Because right now Nigeria is really experiencing a lot of challenges, now our education is very poor. If you go to different Universities really there are not enough equipment and facilities. Students in large class but few percentages less than 5% are really gaining from whatsoever lecturers are teaching. So, we first discover that initially we have half-baked graduates after schools. So this will really worsen it for us less than average graduate; thereby producing graduates that cannot really perform effectively. Graduates that can never be competent in carrying out their jobs and really, we are lagging behind.
Education being the bedrock of every good society, has government given enough to the sector?
University of Nigeria, Nsuka
No they have not! Actually if you look at the schools now, Universities now, from the curriculum the students are not really getting what they are supposed to get. When you do not have facilities, for such science students whereby their equipment are good and all that but for me, I am an Accounting student. We are supposed to be learning with new accounting software. Until we get out there.
Some opined that so-called Academic Unions play major role in the development and contribute immensely to education in Nigeria. Do you agree?
Tai-Solarin University, Ogun Sate
No! Because I believe that they are really fighting for their pockets, they are fighting for their pockets. I do not see any contribution they have done, rather they delay students. Yes because most of them believe that they are not prepared, they have not been this, they have not been that. Even my experience in Two hundred level when ASUU Ogun State chapter went on strike for about three months, it really affected that when we came back we had to only Two months for a session and that Two months, we could not learn anything. Lecturers just gave handouts and set questions for us. At the end of the day, we did not eventually learn what we are expected to learn before the end of the session. So I will think that base on that aspect, so their struggle to the educational sector is minimal.