The continued strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, (ASUU), which seems to have become a ‘new normal’ in the last 19 years, to many stakeholders, is seen as contributing to the growing decadence in the society typified by production of half-baked graduates, who are not employable not to mention mass exodus of Nigerians abroad with the attendant depleting foreign reserves, as well as widening the gap between the rich and the poor manifesting in prostitution by the idle students.
They argue that these years should be seen as deliberate setback to varsity education as successive governments have failed to accord priority to the sector in their budgetary allocations.
Besides, they further argue that most of the successive administrators or political appointees into the sector have been self-serving or lack the requisite knowledge to handle the issues bedeviling it.
The implication, they say, is the rising societal vices as the idle students could easily be manipulated by politicians for their selfish interests.
Specifically, in the last 70 days, the ASUU has kept the gates and classrooms of the nation’s public university system comprising 43 Federal and 47 state universities locked.
The same can also be said of the polytechnics, with 28 federal Polytechnics and about 30 states owned polytechnics closed and several thousands of students locked out of the learning environment.
This is because series of meetings between the federal government and the unions have failed to achieve the desired aim, even as ASUU is threatening to renege on its earlier promise of allowing their members to participate in the February elections.
ASUU’s grouse with the Federal Government in the last 19 years centres on the lackluster attitude to education in the country.
It is on record that between 1999 and 2018 (19-year period), poor funding and attention by the government had led to the series of strikes in the academic calendar at all levels of education in the country, which is gradually becoming the new normal.
Out of the 19-year-period since the infamous FG/ASUU Agreement in 1999, only five years; 2000, 2004, 20014 2015 and 2016 were spared of the Incessant strikes that had led to the downturn in academic activities and students performances.
Demands by ASUU declared as valid by President Muhammadu Buhari, include funding for revitalization of public universities and the issue of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA); University Staff Schools; implementation of the judgment of the National Industrial Court, National Universities Pension Management Company and guidelines for pension matters for professors.