The recent call off of the 36 day old strike embarked on by the Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU), in protest of the non-implementation of the 2009 agreement, the 2013 MoU and the 2016 resolutions. However relieving it is that students can leave the streets and return to the classrooms, the release isn’t a one to relish. This is because of the Federal government default attitude to constantly renegade on agreements made with ASUU. Tertiary education in Nigeria continues to suffer miserably from the nonchalant attitude of government. Government isn’t just stereotyped to the policy makers and breakers in Abuja, but also university administrators, which quite ironically are members of ASUU. So who is deceiving who?
Education remains the bedrock of development of any country. Hence, UNESCO’s recommendation of 26% of national budget on education, which has remained a tall order for Nigeria, whose 2017 budget on education is barely 8%, compared to close door neighbour Ghana’s 15.3%. Although education is better judged qualitatively than quantitatively, Ghana, a nation of 28.21 million as of 2016, spending on education is almost twice that of Nigeria, with a population of over 170 million people. This shows the lackadaisical attitude of policy makers towards the imperative of education for national building. Unsurprisingly, is the comment attributed to the former Minister of Youth development, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi that Nigerians spend about N300bn, annually on education in Ghana.
So, while we continue to play politics with our future, other nations are taking control of theirs. ASUU as a body should also be more vociferous and pronounced in addressing the challenges within the system. Massive cases of financial mismanagement, admission irregularities, sexual exploitation et al are been reported as a norm within the system ASUU claims to be protecting, with her members as principal perpetrators. Addressing these quagmire affecting the educational sector calls for a holistic approach, as the “quick fix strike” alternative has done nothing but further deteriorate the system amidst infinitesimal gains.
The recent call off of the strike by ASUU, with promise by the government to address contentious issues, solves no problem in the broader sense of the education sector. While there are knocks for the government in failing to honour agreements, there is enough to go round for both ASUU and all players in the nation’s education sector. It is therefore important we keep in mind, that tomorrow’s future rest on the today’s decision. And education is the best decision for tomorrow.
News Correspondent at Core Magazine.
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