Some educationists have decried the current industrial action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, when Nigeria is battling high rate of crime among youths.
They pointed out that the current ASUU strike could push youths into vices like fraud, rituals, amongst others.
Lately, youths have been engaging more in vices like Yahoo Yahoo, which has increased the rate of ritual killings across the country.
Recall that ASUU, a few days ago, declared a one-month nationwide strike following the Federal Government’s inability to implement previous agreements.
The National President of ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke said the strike was to enable the Federal Government take action with regards to the agreement.
Osodeke warned that the union would embark on an indefinite strike if their demands are not met within one month.
The battle of wits between the ASUU and the Federal Government is hinged on the revitalization of public universities, earned academic allowances, University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS), promotion arrears, implementation of the renegotiated 2009 ASUU-FGN agreement and discrepancies in the implementation of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel information system (IPPIS).
While ASUU has consistently criticized the government for breaching previous negotiations and agreements, the latter has accused ASUU of forcing it to enter into such a pact under duress.
Speaking with DAILY POST on the issue, a Benue State Teaching Service Board staff, Ogli Adamu, warned that the society is at the receiving end of the persistent strike.
Adamu stressed that students who are out of school due to strikes could easily be lured into joining bad gangs since they are idle.
He urged the government to meet the demands of ASUU and fund education adequately in Nigeria.
According to Adamu, the continuous industrial actions by lecturers would affect the quality of education in the country.
He said: “ASUU strike will increase the rate of insecurity in the country because when these youths are at home, they can be easily lured into joining one gang or the other since they are idle. If they are engaged, they would have less time to take up bad vices. This ASUU strike will seriously increase insecurity.
“But on the other hand, the government has refused to meet their part of agreement since 2009; they only released N30bn for ASUU’s allowance, which is not good. This issue has been lingering since 2009 till now. Why not settle them?
“The government has its part to play but it is not doing it. Since 2009, the same issue has been reccurring, yet they have the money to settle these lecturers; what they are demanding is not much.
“If strikes continue, it will affect the standard of education in the long run, and that is where the issue lies because universities would not graduate students within the stipulated time. Those meant to go for Industrial attachment can’t, and there would be a backlog of graduates intended to embark on youth service.
“So, strikes would affect the standard of education because upon resumption, lecturers would start rushing to complete the semester, which should not be. Due to the rush, students are not properly taught.
“But, if the government meets ASUU’s demands, the strike will not persist. I will appeal to the government to settle ASUU so these persistent strikes will stop. ASUU won’t suffer much, but the student and the society will. They can pay that money in bits. From Jonathan’s administration till now yet they can’t settle this issue? The government should fund education properly.”
Corroborating Adamu’s remark, a lecturer with the Colleague of Education Katsina Ala, Alu Tervershima, said though ASUU’s demands are legitimate, the effect of the industrial action was severe on the society.
Tervershima noted that the strike would push youths into vices like kidnapping, robbery, cultism, Yahoo Yahoo, and the rest.
“In as much as ASUU’s demands are genuine, the continuous strike has its effect on the society and on the students. These students can be easily lured into taking up kidnapping, robbery, Yahoo Yahoo, because they are idle. This does not mean that ASUU should not push for what is right, their agitation would improve the education sector if they succeed,” he said.
Similarly, a lecturer with the University of Calabar, UNICAL, said the education sector would greatly improve if the Federal Government met the demands of lecturers.
Speaking with DAILY POST, the lecturer said if government can borrow money to rehabilitate the National Assembly, then it should do same to the education sector by meeting the demands of ASUU.
The lecturer, who opted to be anonymous said: “Naturally, good remuneration and working conditions would influence your service delivery, even in the classroom with your students. When you have good remuneration, it will have a severe multiplier effect on your relationship.
“So, if ASUU demands are met, we will have better working conditions; as I speak with you, I don’t have an office, and I know so many senior colleagues who don’t have an office. So, if we have good working conditions and pay, we will deliver more. In the area of research, we will do better than people who are outside the country.
“As I speak with you, to publish an article in the sopus Index journal, you will not spend less than N400,000 if you are not collaborating. So, if you have to pay and earn your promotion when due, it will help you greatly, and you won’t feel bad working for the government.
“But in a situation where from your paltry sum you now struggle to eke out a living, struggle to publish, struggle to take care of your family, it’s demoralizing. In a nutshell, if we are well paid, we will get motivated and do better, and our input will increase.”
When asked if the persistent strike would drive youths into vices like fraud and rituals, he said: “The government that is making ASUU to embark on strike is aware of that and its effect on the society at large. If they can borrow to rehabilitate the National Assembly, borrow to rehabilitate NTA, then they should borrow to ensure that our educational system is stable.
“Paying academic allowances should be mainstreamed, and the renegotiation of the 2009 agreement should be kick-started and implemented.
“As we speak, I’m almost done with my Ph.D and my salary is not up to N150, 000, but a small boy without a degree that is working with NIMASA is a big boy, the one working with FIRS is a big boy; so have we committed any crime choosing this profession? I don’t think so. A small boy in NIMASA is doing better than a Professor; no professor can use his earnings to buy a brand new car in Nigeria. And when you are not motivated, it affects your work and your research. You can’t carry out some research because funds will limit you.
“If the Federal Government can meet the demands of ASUU, it will greatly stabilize the education sector and even the quality of graduates we send out.”