Education in tertiary institution in Nigeria has believed to have suffered some reverse in recent years and receiving more bashing when the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) embarked on an indefinite strike after being given several one week warning in most public universities nationwide.
This is worrisome in a country where strikes by academic and non-academic staff have become part of regular features in educational institutions at all levels. As education is the bedrock of development, the present situation demands an urgent effort by government and all stakeholders to fashion out a solution that will end the disruption to academic calendar all the time.
From the nationwide protests of the 1980s till the present face-off, the issues have remained the same. Consistently, students have protested against inadequate accommodation, lack of water and electricity. Besides, they have been rejecting fees of one kind or the other. The academic staff had complained about inadequate teaching facilities, poor remuneration, inadequate lecturers and subsequent over-loading of available faculties. Specifically, ASUU members have been complaining that the 2009 Agreement on their welfare has not been fulfilled by government. Also, the government has not honoured the 2013 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on reforms in the universities and the pledge of N200 billion for infrastructure improvement over a period of five years. Additionally, the ASUU now demands removal of university funding from the Treasury Single Account (TSA) because they cite delays in release of funds on account of bureaucratic process.
Even before the present economic depression in the country, the root of the problems has been the insufficient funding of education resulting in inadequate resources and facilities for teaching and research.
How much can the university generate as income from research, consultancy and diploma among other courses that are now under threat? Where would the university administrators find the funds to develop the manpower for the 21st century tertiary education? How will the administrators fund the academic culture of participating in workshops and conferences at home and abroad? Most of the public universities across the nation face the same dilemma.
What kind of demographics are we creating for the future in which graduates of high cost private universities at home and abroad are to live and work with others who attended public schools in which they learned with poor quality facilities? Are we not creating the disparities that will unavoidably fuel class envy, hatred and violence?