ASUU strike: University education not for everybody – Umahi

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Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi says university education is not for everybody.

Umahi, who is also the Chairman of the South East Governors Forum, said this when he received a delegation from the Nigeria Police Trust Fund led by Dr. Ben Akabueze, in Abakaliki, on Wednesday.

The governor was reacting to the ongoing strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

He said it was not reasonable to expect the Federal Government to borrow N1 trillion to sort ASUU’s demands.

Describing education, health and security as three of Nigeria’s greatest challenges, Umahi said it was high time education was reformed in the country.

He said most countries strive for secondary and vocational education as basic education for everyone.

The Ebonyi governor maintained that university education was not for everybody.

Umahi said, “Our basic problems in this country remain security, health and education. Let me say a little in education which is in our public domain and which is the ASUU. I think that our education system is not being properly articulated.

“University education is not for everybody and that is the truth. The basic education every country strives to attain is secondary school and vocational schools. These are the basic schools and when you have these qualifications, you will able to use it either to start up something or to be able to use it to be employed.

“There is a need to review our educational system. It mustn’t be for everybody. I am not ashamed that I have a first degree and my deputy is a PhD holder; it doesn’t matter. It is what you bring on board. So, I cannot see how we cannot sit down with our ASUU leaders and iron out this problem about the ongoing strike.

“I have read on social media, newspapers how students got into trouble just by sitting at home or engaging in means of keeping themselves busy instead of being in schools.

“There is no way Nigeria will go and borrow N1.1tn to meet ASUU’s demand, it’s quite unreasonable. Are their demands genuine? Yes. But we can start little by little.

“There must be commitment on the side of both parties that look, ”ASUU is not asking for this to take to their houses” so to say. It’s asking for it for our children, to better the infrastructure, to better the lecturers and the students. Yes, but we can start with a fraction of that and then have a programme that will run on the platform of sincerity to address all the lots.

“But let me also say that most of the time, our people have low appetite for maintenance of public works. No matter how much you deploy to these universities, unless the users, the industry regulators begin to treat public infrastructure as their own in the various universities, it will continue to go bad.

“So, it is important for ASUU to show some understanding and for those who are negotiating on the side of government to also show some understanding. Let’s meet ourselves halfway and then open the schools to save the fate of our children.”

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John is a University of Lagos-trained journalist who has read almost every novel written by Chinua Achebe, Jeffrey Archer and Dan Brown. He's an expert Scrabble and draughts player who is also excellent at swimming.
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