With strikes, no hope for education
SIR: The incessant industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the Nigeria Union of Teachers, and others relevant organisations, is gradually crippling Nigeria’s education sector. The government needs to look critically into the situation.
Today, if it is not ASUU, it is the National Union of Teachers or other unions that are going on strike. Already, the statistics are frightening. In the last two decades, university teachers have gone on nationwide strikes 16 times covering a cumulative period of 51 months.
Local chapters of ASUU have also declared strikes in their respective institutions over local disputes, some of them on lockdown for several months. On February 14, ASUU embarked on yet another strike that is now indefinite.
But these strikes are becoming too worrisome. The development does not portray the country in good light before the international community. Incessant strikes are making the youth lose faith in education and consequently take to vices that may compromise their future. This development is dangerous to us as a nation.
I urge the government to tackle this issue. All parties must go down to work, and quickly too, to revisit whatever demands the lecturers are making. I understand that the government is saying it cannot afford to meet the demands of the 2009 agreement. But in seeking to revisit the agreement, there must be genuine commitment toward ensuring a lasting solution.
The measure of any nation’s development is the level of education of its citizens. The dangers inherent in keeping youth at home, who ordinarily should be in school, cannot be overemphasised. Education is the bedrock of a nation and, therefore, deserves special attention. Avoiding strike will go a long way in taking our education to the next level.