THE GAINS AND THE LOSSES TO COME
( This is an unbiased piece with NO political
undertone, so PLEASE read dispassionately,
It is no longer news that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has been on strike for almost four months now. I have done an empirical analysis of what Nigerian students as well as lecturers will gain and lose as a result of the current struggle. Read,digest and see if we need to support them any longer or not.
GAIN OF LECTURERS
1. Increased allowances for project
supervision, call duty, extra hours worked,hazards, etc.
2. Payment of salaries and entitlements for the several months in which they didn’t work!
3. Those schools that did not partake in the struggle e.g UNILORIN and RSUST will also benefit from the infrastructure funds and the earned allowances (needless to say UNILORIN almost began sharing the almost one (1) billion they got for earned allowances last week)
NEGATIVE EFFECT OF THE STRIKE ON LECTURERS
1. Delay in obtaining Masters and PhD’s for those still doing their postgraduate studies.
2. I cant fathom out any. Please, help me if you have been able to think of any other one.
GAINS OF THE STRUGGLE FOR STUDENTS
1. The funds released for infrastructure will be used to meet the immediate needs of our schools. Some will use the funds to construct more hostels, some will use it to equip libraries, provide internet connectivity,build laboratories and furnish them,amongst others. These are projects that will aid learning and ultimately benefit students.
2. Those that will later join the academia and become Professors among us will also have the benefit of retiring at 70 years.
3. Those that will join the academia among us will also enjoy the special allowances that the current struggle will benefit lecturers in the years to come.
NEGATIVE EFFECT OF THIS STRUGGLE FOR STUDENTS.
1. BATTERED ACADEMIC CALENDAR
Our Schools have lost a semester which
cannot be made up for. Most schools were either in their second semester of the 2012/2013 session or were rounding up their first semester exams when the strike began.
This will result in an abridged semester and most schools will finish their 2012/2013 session in 2014.
What this implies is that those that wrote the 2013 UTME and will be offered admission (most schools have not released their admission list) might not resume until probably March next year (when another UTME will be on the way)
This will inadvertently result in late
resumption of the 2013/2014 academic
session which is likely to finish early 2015 (provided ASUU does not embark on another strike action before then). Academic calendar is thus in tatters!
2. DELAY IN THE RELEASE OF ADMISSION LIST.
It is pertinent to note that a lot of
prospective University students do not know their fate regarding admission as a result of the strike action.
3. LAW STUDENTS CANNOT GO TO LAW SCHOOL TILL NEXT YEAR OCTOBER.
2012/2013 Final year Law students must be cursing down their throats as the strike has barred them from progressing to the Law school this year. When the dust of this strike settles, they will have to wait till next year October before they can go to the Law school. This is not the only problem because Law graduate of next year 2014 might not be able to go to the Law school till 2015. One year wasted!.
One might say two (2) sets will be merged but those in the know-how will tell you that the Law school has a quota for each school.
Are we seeing the imminent crises?
4. FIERCE COMPETITION FOR 2014 NYSC BATCH ‘B’.
As a result of this strike action, most public Universities (except probably UNILORIN)cannot present Students for November 2013,BATCH ‘C’ service year and with the look of things, public Universities might not be able to meet up with February 2014 BATCH ‘A’ Service year thus resulting in a fierce competition by students to be mobilised for service next year June BATCH ‘B’. What this means is that some students who were supposed to go for service in 2013 will be deferred to November, 2014 and some till February 2015. Are you calculating the time wasted?
5. SOME PROJECT STUDENTS MIGHT HAVE TO START ALL OVER
2012/2013 Final year students of most
schools who were working on their projects (Science-related) when the strike action began might have to start again because the results obtained then might not be tenable again. This results in waste of scarce resources, time and energy.
Having considered the gains and pains of the current struggle, Nigerian Students can now decide if they wish to continue supporting ASUU or reconsider their support. We can decide if the gain of the struggle outweighs the sacrifice we are paying or otherwise.
If strikes could rescue the Nigerian
Education system, then our Institutions
should by now be one of the best in the
world. If ASUU has been on strike for 30
months in the past 10 years and we are still where we are today, then it means No weapon of strike fashioned against the Pharoahs in Abuja can work.
Government has made concessions, we will only be deceiving ourselves if we think Jonathan will implement every bit of that agreement. Its not realistic!..let us be factual and move forward. When ASUU started this struggle, they had popular support not just because it was a Tradition for them to garner sympathy of Nigerians but because we felt it was an aberration for them to still be on an agreement that Government signed in 2009 after an almost four months strike action. But if after a Hundred days of protests, demonstration, rallies and negotiations, we are still at this stage, then it doesnt look like its going to get better. The Truth is ASUU is already losing public sympathy because the collateral effect of their strike is so harsh on students.
Remember, in an industrial dispute, you dont win 100%, you win some and concede some ( as corroborated by Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, Archbishop Kaigama, Tolu Ogunlesi and a host of others).
In my own Opinion, the strike doesnt makes sense any longer and ASUU should just call it off to avoid being termed 'stubborn fellows' in the face of the Nigerian Public.
Compiled by ABIOLA SOLANKE
Department of Veterinary Medicine
Federal University of Agriculture,Abeokuta.