The on-going strike by lecturers of polytechnics owned by the Federal Government across the country has over time taken new turn which has aborted every attempt to call it off.
*A file photo of Federal Polytechnic Nekede
The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) held meeting concurrently at Ibadan and Ikorodu recently to consider the matters arising as the representative of the Federal Government and the erstwhile Minister for Education, Professor Rukayyatu Ahmed Rufai, has since been relieved of her appointment.
The Union stated that at the last meeting held, the Federal Government promised to attend to four out of its demand, but unfortunately only two were implemented and until the other two demands are met, lecturers will not go back to work.
Part of the demands that was met by the government as identified by ASUP spokesperson included the demand of the constitution of governing councils of Federal Polytechnics.
The others, according to the spokesman, include the release of the White Paper on Visitations to Federal Polytechnics and the commencement of the Needs Assessment of Nigerian Polytechnics.
Abiodun Aremu, the convener of ‘United Action for Democracy’ once stated that what socialism advocates is simple: To ensure socio-political stability, there is the need to empower everyone.
The only way to empower the Nigerian populace is to offer affordable, if not almost free education system.
Section 18 (3) of the Nigerian constitution that promised affordable education stated with a conditional premise “as and when practicable” who defines the time of practicability?
This is a pointer that the government knew it had no plan for the country’s education system from the start.
This current faceoff between ASUP and the FG is being a long time coming.
The union believe it would be a sheer waste of effort, time, meetings and future of the students if they decide to back out now when an agreement has not being made.
According to Aremu, if they decide to call off the strike now, the strike will not be different from the ones that history has recorded as “fought and lost”.
It is not cheery news that no Nigerian higher institution is presently ranked among 1000 institutions of the world.
The dilapidated value of education in Nigeria has debased the academic integrity of Nigerian tertiary institutions as Nigerian academic credential is treated with no value.
In smaller African nation, bulk of their budget is spent on education to allow for major accessibility to education. Below is the list of them;
Burkina Faso 16.8%,
Cote d’Ivore 30%,
South Africa 25.8%
This explains why Nigerians tertiary credentials are not truly treated with utmost regard in other countries. But hey, Nigeria is still the “Giant of Africa!”
The question that lingers in the minds of Nigerian students however, remains “where lies our fate?”
The Labour market has put a tag on the age range for various corporate institutions as a requirement for recruitment which spells an irreconcilable doom for Nigerian student who would spend about double of their expected term in tertiary schools, graduating five years beyond expected.
Since the government has no reliable option for the expectant holders of OND and HND, the least it could do is to ensure they don’t outgrow the “employable” age as the level of unemployment is geometrically rising against our fear for future.
The concerned parents and well-meaning Nigerian has hereby implore the Federal Government to be reasonable in pressing matters that concerns education rather than dwell on trivial matters that contributes little or nothing to the growth and development of the country.