ASUU STRIKE JUSTIFIABLE ― NANS
The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), South-West Zone, has thrown its weight behind the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), describing as disheartening the lack of resolve of the Federal Government to ensure reopening of schools.
Describing the demands of ASUU for improved remuneration and educational infrastructure as justifiable, the students’ body decried the continued failure of the government to massively invest in the educational system and restructure science departments from theories to research-oriented departments.
The stance of the NANS, South-West zone, was contained in a statement jointly signed by Chairmen of the association in the six states of the zone: Opakunle Oluwafunmibi, Busari Adelaja, Agbogunleri Seun, Raji Sobur, Bamgbose Tomiwa, Akinteye Babatunde.
Citing poor learning environment and learning facilities, lack of public address systems, interactive boards, epileptic Internet facilities, outdated library resources, outdated laboratories, over-crowded hostels, NANS said the agitation of ASUU for more funding of tertiary institutions was legitimate.
While bemoaning that several students remained idle at home, the body stated that tertiary institutions in the country were even ill-equipped to hold online classes while there was no political will to effect safe reopening of schools.
To hasten the end of the lingering strike, the body urged the federal government to sufficiently yield to the demands of ASUU, massively invest in the education sector and see to the safe reopening of educational institutions.
The statement read in parts, “Students across the country must know that the strike action of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is justifiable and we need a proper integration to foster a successful outcome.
“As an association, we wish to establish our position as following with close marking, the demands of ASUU as the union is one part of our academic world and, an injury to one, they say, is an injury to all. Hence, standing on the principle of solidarity, we state categorically that our thoughts are aligned with the demands of ASUU.
“It needs to be stated that a government that allocates a ridiculous percentage of the annual budget into the educational sector owes the Nigerian masses an explanation as to why the sector has been left in shambles while the government is consistently spending massively on irrelevancies.
The way-forward remains for our government to invest massively in our educational system and restructure our science departments from theories to research-oriented departments.
“With proper analysis as to what has brought about the ASUU strike that might seem ceaseless in years past, we are not unfamiliar with several disgraceful learning environments and learning facilities across our institutions.
“It is on record that over 80 per cent of our higher institutions does not have Public Address Systems, Interactive Boards, etc. while many are battling with epileptic or non-existing Internet Services, a library of no or less automation, outdated library resources have been the active facilities that our tertiary institutions pride themselves of.
“How will such institutions take steps into holding online classes which the Federal Government has ingloriously directed management of higher institutions of learning across the country to commence?
Advanced countries of the world are drafting students in the medical laboratory and pharmaceutical-related fields in research efforts at finding the cause of this deadly virus and the vaccine for its treatment and cure. The reason such is not being done here in Nigeria cannot be far-fetched because, we are a country with depleted libraries, outdated laboratories, over-crowded insanitary hostels with plummeting academic standards that have reduced our tertiary institutions to inglorious secondary schools churning out medical graduates with little or no laboratory experience.
“We are concerned that students should not just be made to sit at home doing nothing. And, we must state categorically that the conditions we are here to table to government at all levels are not beyond what the government can meet considering the resources at our disposal as a country. The fact that the government is not talking about these things is just a clear case of irresponsibility and unpreparedness on the part of our ruling class which we frown at.
“Without mincing words, education is the bedrock of any civilization, it is therefore disheartening that our governments are showing a lack of resolve to make our schools resume.
“Furthermore, it is important to call the attention of the Nigerian government to the fact that most countries of the world have tactically resolved the issue of learning during the pandemic by putting certain measures in place. The Nigerian government must also emulate their counterparts and with immediate effect, make necessary provisions to ensure the resumption of academic activities in our educational institutions.”