If all Academic Unions will be like ASUU, Nigerian education will stabilize

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To some people, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is a directionless and ingrate Union. Those people that look at things from the outside, not from the inside think that ASUU is a waste of time and a hopeless Union that wastes the precious time of Nigerian students, alas, ASUU is the frontline in salvaging the remains of Nigerian education.

The members of ASUU are enduring the insults, instigations and pains of Nigerians’ bowling of all quarters to make sure that Nigerian education has a pinch of salt touch. All academic staff of Nigerian universities sacrifice their pride and prestige to ridicule and jeering of all sorts to contribute a moment and effort for Nigerian educational restructure.

And if you think the Nigerian government is the saint and ASUU is the devil why do most Nigerian leaders send their children outside to study.

In this century Nigerian schools are divided between the poor and the rich and it is specific that the public schools are for the poor while the private for the rich.

Cles 2021 research says Nigeria sent 76,338 students overseas to study in 2018 and ICEF Monitor statistics indicated that there were 100,000 Nigerian students enrolled abroad in 2020 and this amounts to a huge revenue loss.

The children of Nigerian high politicians and businessmen send their children outside of the country to avoid any obstruction of study while leaving the children of the poor to battle for created problems because in all feuds ASUU is dogging on the ACTS and memorandum of Understanding between them and the Nigerian government.

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Without ASUU Nigerian tertiary education will be like the primary and secondary schools education we see, barely without seats, roofing, fence and comfort stations in some schools.

In fact, ASUU doggedly secured the establishment of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (Tetfund) and now Tetfund is in all sets of our educational system; be it primary, secondary, private schools or organizations. Indeed, this is a great blessing that Nigerian education ever had because it proffers solutions to problems of Nigerian education.

As some people think, ASUU is only for their own, this is a fallacy because ASUU is always with its students’ concern and welfare, and ASUU makes sure that students’ interests and laws are protected. Like it used to be when few resourceful Nigerians across the borders travelled to neighbouring African countries to secure their degrees in a few months. The academic staff union of Nigerian universities fought against this corruption and irregularity and the schools are banned.

ASUU is very committed to the development of Nigerian education like other unions but ASUU is a good example of all our academic unions because it keeps to its promise no matter the pain and the joy it faces.

Nigerian education is faced with some irregularities and the unions that are supposed to protect the interest of their staff sometimes don’t have the might and the power to protect the interest of their laws and ethics because of incapacitated ability and sentiment. Many sad events happened to teachers of primary schools, secondary and even colleges of education and nothing is been done.

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What happened in Edo state in the year 2013 when 836 teachers were sacked by the state government?

What is done when the Kogi state government was given a bailout to settle its teachers’ salary of 20 months but slashed the salary and made preferential payment?

What was the fate of the 21 thousand teachers being expelled by the Kaduna state government on a mandatory test of competency that the state Union described as unconducive and other thousands were made to write it again?

What happened when some states like Sokoto and Enugu financially treat their lecturers of Colleges of Education and polytechnics like the teachers of secondary schools? Rivers state almost owns five years’ salaries of its primary school teachers and what has been done on that?

Although a lot happened with the assistance of the Nigerian Labor Congress, and NLC in some states but what has changed? Nothing has changed because the Nigerian Union of Teachers, NUT (unions of primary and secondary schools) are paralyzed and weaken to protect their members and afraid to guide their laws like NUT Non-teaching staff of Universities and polytechnics and the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, ASUP is not flamboyant as ASUU to sustain strikes.

The people that have other round thinkings about ASUU and any other union should know that a new professor in a Nigerian public university collects N342,442 (US$824) as a monthly salary and from that meagre amount of money he has to conduct research and attend conferences (though Tetfund sponsors publications and studies) to give the best to his students but as election nearer we are seeing politicians buying contesting presidential form for 100 million when millions of Nigerian students are redundantly wasting time as their schools are locked while ASUU for the sake of Nigerian education is in “No Work No Pay” action.

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At the present, many academic unions are on strike for their welfare, the students’ welfare and the schools’ dividends. ASUU strike is reaching three months, non-teaching staff of Nigerian universities are also logged with government and ASUP and its non-teaching staff are preparing for their shutdown but no matter what like the saying of a wise African man is better not to start the fight that you cannot finish and a Hausa proverb says if you cannot fight for what’s is your own devise play and jokes to get it by trick.

Nigerian teachers are dwindling in abject poverty as inflation rises despite that in some states teachers spend 5-10 years without promotion. This sabotages the service guidelines and with such pain for teachers, some people see the other side of teachers because they want the good for their generation. But if all unions will be like ASUU Nigerian education will have a good path because they keep promises but do not compromise on their demands.

Auwal Ahmed Ibrahim Goronyo is a lecturer with Kaduna Polytechnic and can be reached at auwalgoronyo@gmail.com

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