From Isah Aliyu Chiroma
The storm that rage over the education sector has become something unending. A mask for a frightening strike action roams around the cloud of Nigerian Public Universities when academic activities are facing breaks.
This crisis, full of confidence has been battled for several years, it turns out positive, other times negative, leaving the student with the hope of calling off. Lack of investment in the education sector leads to the dwindling of education in the Country. Looking at the Country’s budget, and the percentage allocated to the sector, we have a long way to go.
The government as the overseer of everything should look at the importance of education to the Country and invest in it, to produce a generation of intellectuals, who are willing to provide solutions to problems in their society, by using the knowledge imbibed in them and having access to modern equipment to devour their learned skills.
The threat of industrial action is not the way forward. It is already known to the union that the education sector needs investment, and the question to raise here is how can we draw the attention of the government to invest in the sector to have a productive system. It is very sad as a student to use equipment and tools for practical that have been in use for decades. Probably it was the one used by a professor that thought you during his undergraduate studies. This is one among many other issues that the academic environment is facing challenges in the race of education.
Looking at the design of the system, and the population, more facilities are needed to bridge the gap that education needs in the 21st Century. The minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu said something in his column, which was published on 15th November 2013. He said, “The goal for ending the strike shouldn’t be to save parents anxiety or to take pity on students or to save lecturer’s jobs or to graduate students: It is to save the University system, so that it becomes what it is supposed to be a system for producing a culturally literate society, and for generating and harnessing ideas and knowledge, initiating and driving social and economic innovation, and ensuring national competitiveness on the global scene”. This was worth something to be paid attention to, but eight years from when this was written, nothing seems to be changing, even when those who visualize a dream for the sector were allowed to serve.
It is very sad for a country that refused to invest in its education sector, then what will be the fate of a Nation without producing youths with quality education? Education is an ideal weapon to study the past and to create the future, not only creating the future but creating it creatively. This will help to acclimatize the present and visualize the future of the sector. To mold and shape a mind that is ready for the challenges in the race of excellence.
According to UNESCO, for Education to be standard in a country, it has to take about 26 percent of the country’s budget. Looking at the sector’s budget, you will realize we are yet to make a move in improving and investing much in the sector. Meaning any nation’s budget for education that is below the standard percentage for quality education, cannot participate and will fail to produce seedlings ready for the race in the field of education and world challenges.
Three sectors of the economy are very important in every nation, the education, security, and health sector. If little attention is paid to any of those sectors, it will be very hard to propel and achieve your dreams for the betterment of that Nation.
As we speak of the education sector, likewise the other sectors are on the same ground or even sloppier, this will not provide an avenue to implement or carry out the vision of the government in the race of nation-building.
The fate of students, lecturers, and everyone in the system is something devastating because if we continue in this pattern, we will not achieve what we want, but only leave the victims with the same wound that we only pretend to treat without getting recovered.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, said all hands must be on deck to ensure academic strikes in universities become a thing of the past. The Speaker made the comment in a statement welcoming the end of an eight-month strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities.
The academics had demanded better welfare and revitalization of public universities, among other demands. While thanking the Federal Government and the ASUU leadership for finding a way to end the strike, Gbajabiamila said it is time to “admit certain harsh truths and take radical action.” He regretted that the strike lasted for eight months and noted that it should never have happened in the first place.
“Our public universities should be citadels of learning and innovation, where young people discover themselves and reach for the stars,” he told Channels television.
Mr Gbajabiamila called on the government, Universities, unions, and citizens “to begin the critical conversation about the future of public tertiary education in the Country”.
Gbajabimila’s intervention, along with other House members, was key in ending the eight-month old strike which was at a stalemate after the Federal Government dragged ASUU to court.
After meeting with President Buhari twice last week, the Gbajabiamila committee was able to broker a truce between both parties.
While all of ASUU’s demands have not been met, the Federal Government has made concessions.
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