by Alabi Adewale Paul
The ongoing strike action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is a source of worry to students who have been stopped from receiving lectures since the 24th of March 2020 when the union started its strike action. In as much as this is a painful experience, it does feel like a necessary action that may lead to growth and renewed interest in the educational sector of the country.
The lecturers went on an indefinite strike over the failure of the Federal Government to keep to the 2019 Memorandum of Action between them, as well as the lingering disagreement over the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) that ASUU rejected.
The Federal government’s inability to keep to its promises as well as its disinterest in education has become a perennial issue that is creating a deep sore in education at all levels within the country. Since the year 1999, there has hardly been a year without a strike action carried out by ASUU. That in itself explains the rot in the Nigerian education sector.
It is however, pertinent to note that most of the demands of the lecturers at present are geared towards their wages. It will however be of huge impact if ASUU also pushes for reforms in the academic field. In as much as they do this sometimes, the agenda is not pushed as much as when they fight for their entitlements.
The government seems to have a lackadaisical attitude towards education and this may be because they have not had serious actions that may force their hands towards taking a step in that direction. A group like ASUU might just be what Nigeria needs to help push that agenda but do they understand the power that they wield? Of course they do. However, the will to move beyond their immediate demands towards a greater call of action is where the conundrum lies.
It seems ASUU may not have the time for that yet, but it should be noted that a complete overhaul in the educational system will effectively address the same issues ASUU has been battling for decades.
In as much as it may seem like a daunting task, ASUU may likely be a powerful game changer in Nigerian education, and the group coming into this realisation may help it achieve its goals and more faster.