It’s been over a month since the Academic staff of union and universities embarked on what the country has come to know as it’s 16th strike since Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999, and is this particular strike close to an end? No it is not. What was first a one month strike has now increased to three months, several other Academic unions have now joined ASUU in it’s strike due to the same reason, and the government still hasn’t paid the associations their money.
ASUU embarked on a one month strike on the 14th of February due to the popular reason of the Federal Government not fulfilling the promises it made to the association since 2009. Since then, the Federal Government’s excuse, has been that over the course of the years, it has not gotten enough money to fulfill it’s promise to the association, and of course, the government has been in an increasing debt of over 30 trillion naira for a very long time, but the statement made by The federal minister of education in a recent conference, will have you thinking twice about the Government’s concern for the education of it’s citizens.
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At the special retreat for the executive council of the federation, The federal minister of education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, made mention of UNESCO’s recommended minimum annual budgetry allocation of 26% to education, for developing countries, he said that Nigeria has never come close to this , unlike Ghana who in 2015 allocated 22.09% of its annual budget to education. It is important to note that the amount of brain drain the country experiences, due to students of Nigeria flocking to Ghana for education, increases daily.
Mallam Adamu Adamu said that from 1999 to date, the country’s annual budget to education has always been from 4% to 10%. He also said that of the 55.3 trillion naira budgeted by the federal government, in the last six years only 3.5trillion naira was allocated to education, and this represents less than 10%.
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“All agreements with the government over the years, have always contained clauses that government should progressively increase allocation to the sector, so that we can get to the UNESCO’S standard of 26%, but over the years allocation to the sector keep going down”
— The National president of ASUU(Emmanuel Osodeke).
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The Academic staff of union and universities haven’t been alone in their strike, as the Non-academic staff union of allied and Educational institutions(NASU), directed it’s members nationwide to embark on a two week warning strike,from March 28 2022. The National association of academic technologies (NAAT), also commenced it’s own two weeks industrial strike, last week.
As for the well being of the students, we can’t speak for all, but it was reported last week, that a UNIJOS student commuted suicide, over the ASUU strike. In as much as suicide is never the solution, we have to admit that it hasn’t been easy for the students. Several of them haven’t been taking the constant strike with a light heart, as so many of them have been troubled, over the fact that their education keeps on getting delayed, and those of their mates in Private universities, keep on moving ahead of them, due to the strike. The National association of Nigerian students have also been embarking on protests. Three days ago they began their daily protest in Abuja.
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On the bright side, it has now become a trend, as most of the tertiary institution students are now learning new skills, which they can monetize. Several of them are learning some vocational skills, while others are taking online courses.
According to a Report from BBC, ASUU increased their one month warning strike, in other for them and the federal government to be able to converse, on how this 16th strike(which equates to 51 months by the way), can be the last strike of ASUU. Sadly this won’t be the first or 10th time that both entities are meeting on this exact matter, but we can only hope and pray, that for the sake of the children of this country, and their future, that these meetings finally become actions, that end this horrible cycle of education in Nigeria.