The Way Out Of Crippling ASUU Strikes – By Doyin Okupe

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The Nigerian educational system has been subjected to incessant and perennial ASUU strikes for several decades. There will be no end to it. Every administration that had governed Nigeria, both military and civilian, had been confronted if not subdued by the infamous ASUU Strikes. In all these years ASUU had remained the victors and the students have remained the victims while the educational system in the country after several sustained systematic shocks and deprivations had gone down the pit of infamy and valuelessness.

On the other hand, private universities have blossomed and many of these new institutions have received reckoning from within and abroad. Till date, the academic staff of the private universities have never gone on strike.

I think the solution to ASUU strikes lies between what obtains in the private universities and the public universities.

For a fact, the private universities charge much higher fees, and the proprietors are therefore in a better position to provide better infrastructure, equipment and welfare for both students and staff.

Everywhere in the world university education is expensive. Nigerian students who go abroad on self-sponsorship have to do some part-time jobs as well as study.

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Nigeria should not be too different. Because of abysmally poor quality of education in Nigeria, university graduates are unable to communicate effectively in English or even write a decent application letter for employment. Yet many of these poorly baked graduates are employed as teachers in our secondary schools, compounding our educational backwardness and steadily destroying the future of the country.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  1. Federal Government should sell 60% of its shares in all public universities and institutions of higher learning. Retaining 40% equity will give the government enough voting leverage or controlling powers on the boards of these institutions so as to moderate any reckless or exploitative desires of the new investors such that increase in fees are reasonable and do not make university education completely out of reach for children of the poor. Once this divestment of government shares are effected, unions like ASUU will no longer exist since the universities now become private enterprises.
  1. Government must simultaneously set up an EDUCATIONAL BANK that will give liberal loans at low interest rates with some moratorium to university students covering both fees and reasonable “on campus” leaving expenses”, up to 60/70%. These loans are collateralized with the students passing out certificates and 2 guarantors to be provided by each student. The guarantors will only be called upon to pay up the loans if students are rusticated or leave the country after graduation without settling their loans. If government can explore the above in its pure or amended format, it will put an end to these uncontrollable incessant strikes crippling our educational system and frustrating our students and their parents.  It will also gradually improve the quality of education in the universities as well as close the gaps between provisions of amenities on the private and public universities. Congratulations to the Nigerian students for the reprieve brought about by the conditional ending of the ASUU strike.

MERRY CHRISTMAS.

*Okupe is a former Presidential Spokesman.

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