OPINION: And What After ASUU?

There is a paradox governments have built around education — billions of Naira are spent on education, yet the financial issues around education are not being resolved.

asuu-logoThe Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, is just one of the examples.

However, ASUU’s case is exceptional, in that governments appeared concerned. When the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, ASUP, started the strike, the government started negotiations with the protester only 3 month later. Still, the issue is only partially resolved.

As far as ASUU strike is concerned, the government strategy failure is evident.

The officials sign  agreements, which they don’t fulfill.

ASUU is on strike over a 2009 agreement. Governments want to re-negotiate implementation of a four-year-old agreement.

We have governments that plan for immediate needs, if they ever do. They are exhausting themselves over ASUU strike as if meeting ASUU’s demands would resolve the challenges that our education faces, among them irrelevant curricula.

Bureaucracy consumes the bulk of the money spent annually on the education needs. Duplication of agencies that manage education is the biggest cost centre in our national education management. Governments are running up new costs.

It is absurd that governments — the owners of the universities — would need an ASUU strike to determine the status of the facilities in universities.

What are the further governments’ plans for education? How would they tackle sustainable funding so that we are not soon back to another wave of strikes in a matter of months? Will the authorities ever think of the measures that would prevent the education system from constant disruptions?

It is evident, that there are no simple solutions of this problem. Many of the federal agencies on education just drain resources that should have been invested in improving learning facilities. States imitate the federal waste, making education one of governments’ biggest cost centres, without commensurate value for the expenditures.

Governments can save costs by eliminating duplication in the functions of education agencies.

There should be clearer lines about the roles of governments at different levels of education.

Finally, the future of education is too important to be left to haphazard funding. Governments should provide resources for education beyond ASUU’s demands.

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