Perhaps like many, I find the indefinite strike action disconcerting and disappointing.
The academic year is drawing to a close, with impending exams to round off the year. Much effort, on the part of students and indeed their lecturers, has gone into preparation for this annual finale – exams. With an indefinite strike action comes uncertainty for the students which, in itself, is undue pressure that will serve to hinder progress and effectively derail any scheduled plans post academics.
According to the current administrations’ 7 point agenda;
The two-fold reforms in the educational sector will ensure firstly the minimum acceptable international standards of education for all. With that achieved, a strategic educational development plan will ensure excellence in both the tutoring and learning of skills in science and technology by students who will be seen as the future innovators and industrialists of Nigeria. This reform will be achieved through massive injection into the Education sector.
Though I appreciate this is a high level statement that desires expounding, planning and a roadmap, it does however set the tone for the administrations’ intention for education. Why the strike action if the government professes the aforesaid approach? Arguably, the occurrence of this strike is indicative of a significant failing on the part of the government and this particular agenda point is, to date, more or less hot air.
The government spokesperson and Minister for Education, Mr. Egwu, is quoted as expressing surprise that ASUU called an indefinite strike action despite having invited the union to a dialog. Surely, if the administration is not meeting and has not met its obligations for some time, it should be no surprise rather an expected outcome.
In addition to the 7 point agenda, there is the Vision 20/2020 which professes to place Nigeria among the top 20 economies in the world. An apparent oversight today – ignoring a fundamental instrument, the student – will be the undoing of any such vision tomorrow.
I hold the opinion that if we continuously, on one hand, proclaim plans and, on the other, disregard the plight of the education system, the victim in all this is the country as a whole.
The strike actions, sub-standard facilities within which we provide education to students and other inadequacies and irregularities will, undoubtedly, have a reverberating effect on our collective future.
If we are serious about “leaders of tomorrow” taking us to where we need to be, we cannot afford to ill-equip them as past leaders have ill-equipped the leaders of today.