Wednesday, June 6, 2007

And you thought we were done...

One last shameless plug for the plight of Nigerian higher education... Here's part of an email from a Psychology professor at Enugu State University of Science & Tech. I had asked her a while ago what her views were on the constant strikes by lecturers, etc. and here's what she had to say:

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The strike actions are unfortunate because time is wasted, both for students and staff. Yet the lecturers have no other way of getting the attention of the authorities to the plight of academics in the Universities. Things are appalling, my dear. There is so much corruption and students are cashing in on it. Anybody can get away with a University degree now without working for it. The good ones are so frustrated that some throw in the towel and derail. Look at the world ratings of Universities and see that Nigerian Unversities , (the best 3) rank from 5,600 or 6,000! And yet nobody cares.

Grades are sold by lecturers who are underpaid. There are no libraries. Staff have no access to journals. people are promoted to professorial positions without publications. There are often absentee lecturers who sublet their courses to unathaurized and unqualified lecturers! Tell me why shouldn't the Universities be closed. Meanwhile Government functionaries, (including the immediate past President) get to establish private Universities which are not within the reach of most youth.

So there, that's my opinion. The strikes are in order. But the authorities
don't care.

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OBJ said in a recent interview, "there is no basis for the striking lecturers to go on strike in view of the giant stride of the present administration at improving the take home pay of the nation's lecturers." Are these strikes the only way to get the authorities to increase teacher salaries and work conditions? For more information on the recent ASUU strikes, check out this article.

2 comments:

Up Nepa said...

I'm scared ... for real for real ... I mean this is two or three generations from leadership. It is going to take a full effort by all parties involved. No half-assing this.
For the strikers, they have to look at the opportunity cost of striking and find that there's not much being lost. Sure students are now idle and will probably represent dangers to themselves and society at large. But if they aren't learning anything in school then they aren't missing out on much. For the strikers, how many of them are receiving or yet to receive payments in arrears? The government has to respond to the people. It is adamant. The problem is the trade-off. What will a large scale revamping cost the nation in terms of electricity, roads, health, what I call the corruption sector (awarding of ridiculous contracts like only naija can do, sports and so on and so forth. It is the government's responsibility to weigh in on all this and I suspect they will find that in the long run (not so long if you think about it) education is probably the most important item. After all we've survived so long without power and water and good roads, what's a few more years if there's promise of a brighter future from our tertiary level students. Forgive the cynical view of things. And there is the temptation to say, and rightfully so, that money should not be a problem in Nigeria; there is so much money after all. And there is the temptation for me to reply, my dear, I agree with you.

If not strike, then what? War? Revolution? Striking is their from of peaceful rebellion. They might get sprayed and contorted like dancing marionettes by Kalashnikov rifles should they start matching and protesting in front of Aso rock or other government facilities.

Misan said...

You're right about the opportunity cost to them (striking teaching staff) not being that great as they are earning pittance and working under such terrible conditions.

I agree with your insight though, we've gone this far without nepa, roads etc, that maybe a few more years of these conditions (which i suspect wouldn't be changing regardless) in order to put our education and HEALTH systems (back?) on track wouldn't be too much of a chore, considering the benefits that would come out of it.