.The only language government understands is strike
.We are at the receiving end— students
By Elizabeth Uwandu
Three weeks running and still counting, stakeholders have lamented the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, over the failure of the Federal Government to implement the agreement it entered with it. While some stakeholders are in full support of the strike, many want ASUU to seek alternatives in driving home their demands. On the other hand, students whose education has been disrupted as a result are calling on the Federal Government and ASUU to settle whatever needed to be settled and call off the strike.
Speaking on the proclivity of ASUU to embark on strikes, Mrs Helen Essien said the strike was a ploy to hamper the education of the poor. “This ASUU strike is meaningless and hurts the wrong target. The politicians’ children are either schooling abroad or settled in private universities all over Nigeria. Of what use is it disrupting the academics of the children of the same people you seek to fight for?”
Mrs Essien, a legal practitioner added ” Have their strikes ever yielded anything for the students apart from payment of some backlog of lecturers’ emoluments? Let’s be truthful, is anything worth disrupting the children’s school calendar at every turn of events? No one is answering. ASUU and NUPENG are becoming birds of a feather with regard to strikes. Teachers and learners and parents who bear the burden of extra year school fees, also matter. Strike should be the last option not a first option. If this strike lasts 6 months, tell us the effect on our children. That’s the cost.”
Corroborating Mrs Essien’s concerns, Mr Oruebor Amaechi noted that ” For using strike to drive home their demands, it’s either ASUU lacks common sense or they choose to derail even their own children’s future. Few of them can even afford tuition fees of Nigerian private universities and few can afford sending their children abroad for studies, so in the end the effect of their struggle is on their own children. They should adopt another means”.
According to Ogunse Adeyemo, ”It’s a needless strike action. Check their antecedents in the past twenty years or thereabout. It has always been to achieve their personal benefits and improve their well being. There is little or no difference between them and politicians. They should reconsider their approach. Strike is not popular anymore”.
Mr Solomon wondered ” Of what importance is a school calendar without necessary teaching/learning facilities? Of what importance is a school calendar if teachers who will teach or operate the calendar are not paid? Why do we make it look as if it is only the learners that matter in a school system? Blame the government not the teachers. Refusing to pay lecturers, refusing to provide them with essential tools to teach with and yet asking them not to demand for those things by legal means is just like beating a child and asking the child not to cry. Its simply wickedness.
”Are you aware that our tertiary institutions could have become so terrible, if not for more funding for infrastructural improvement from Education Tax Fund (ETF)? This was a brainchild of ASUU and effected by government through struggle. Through it some people have been able to go for postgraduate trainings at foreign universities. The masses out there are tired of your strikes and I daresay bored. ASUU needs to convince us that this time around this strike will be the ultimate solution’, another respondent said.’
On his part, Mr Gabriel Dedeke explained ”I know there is apathy towards academia anytime they go on strike but let me tell you one of the things that ASUU struggles have achieved. It has prevented the government from suddenly jerking up school fees in our public universities. If not for ASUU, state governments who own state universities could have charged N400,000 plus and the Federal Government would have eventually done the same thing. That is what resulted in this strike, because someone in the government negotiating team, insisted that students in government universities will have to pay higher school fees which ASUU resisted .
”If this fight is not to the benefit of students and their parents, then I don’t know which will be and what is the cost of doing nothing? Why do you think they will not succeed in preventing the hike? Are you saying ASUU should sit down and look until public universities become as costly as the private ones? In fact, it is because ASUU didn’t sidon look, that a lot of people can still send their children to the university”, he said.