Let us begin by paying a call to the first and the best university in Nigeria which her nudiustertian convocation marked with 70th year anniversary of academic excellence is an accurate yardstick one could use to measure the student’s academic achievement. If we are not too in a hurry, join me in this sensual visit to this great citadel of learning to see how the system has left nothing other than blessing or doom on student’s side when it comes to ASUU strike. In this our visit we shall pay a call to the first day convocation address by the UI VC and before we march forward into the ivory tower, it is advisable we remain conscious and patience to make it worthwhile.
The problem faced by Nigerian university students are two, ASUU strike and others. The almost six month ASUU strike in year 2013 and other notable strikes will be more please to be asked from those students who underwent the painsome academic years and graduated with the 2016/2017 set. If a student who graduated with first class or second class upper is interrogated, with a beaming smile, he or she might share with us how the system had shaped him or her to attain such height, but on the other hand, a student whose academic strength falls on other categories might find an excuse to let the interrogation be extended to another day, anyway this point of view is just an assumption not factual.
Moreover, without any voracious beating around the bush in searching for the others we might regard as problems as it appears to many students. For now let us give the energy in its plethora to unveil the doom that hide in ASUU strike and as it play remarkable roles in shaping students future with an incessant truncation of schools academic calendars and forcing holiday on students due to unsettled differences between the academic staff union of universities and the federal government and as a result of this recurrent fight between both elephants have at all time left the grasses on the battle field as the bearer of pain. And as it is well known as this saying goes “an idle hand is the workshop of Satan”. Nigerian students could be best regard as the idle hands when such misunderstanding rises.
Without letting this visit allure boredom as it may seems to be, let us pay a call to the first day convocation address by UI VC to the public. In his address on November 12 2018 reveals that out of 7,577 candidates graduating with first degree. Only the sum of 26.9 percent which made up 1,934 graduating candidates swam in the pool of character and learning and were worthy to take home with them first class and second class upper honour. While the sum of 73.2 percent which made up 5,269 graduating candidates while also had scaled through the same rigorous exercise and are worthy of second class lower and its other noteworthy counterparts. To have a taste in this matter, let us ask ourselves why is the academic achievement of this graduating candidates not other way, that is, be the 73.2 percent or a bit below or more beyond. Why?
My companion, the answer is everywhere to pick ours but for those who may have no idea, it is as a result of challenges faced by Nigeria’s tertiary institutions and which students are the carriers of such symptoms. Let us use this opportunity to sit down conveniently under the tent of thought in our inner mind and as we relax here before we extend our visitations, let us welcome the federal government and the academic staff union of universities under this tent.
As we welcome them on sit, let us bring to our mind that the ASUU struggles till date has been on the same request place on the ever changing table of the federal government and in short, the basis of their strikes are to make life worthy for university lecturers and improvement in the wellbeing of Nigerian universities. There is no other great doom when we imagine other factors associated with shortfall in students achievement in Nigeria universities other than federal government nonchalant attitude towards the improvement in the standard and well being of tertiary institutions. In a condition like this, expecting great outcome from the students is like expecting that field grasses where two elephants fight recurrently to remain green. Students who are to focus and strictly bind to their studies with high spirit have developed other sense to have life at their foot. At this present day conditions of federal and state own universities, one can only have the matriculated year in diary but the year of graduation is beyond foresight. Those who are to embark on youth service are stuck in their parent’s house. With the current status of labour market and the persistence of unsettled differences between ASUU and federal government, of what drastic productivity, that is, making students a full baked bread should the populace expect from an invalid (Nigeria’s education system).
Nevertheless, we could agree that life possesses a double face like a coin, at university of Ibadan recent convocation and graduating ceremonies, a testimony of feast will be what some students will give when he or she find hisself or herself in a gathering of friends. To such students it is best describe as a blessing of feast which on a normal day such students are to be in class, lecture theatre receiving lectures or being study at library for the looming second semester examination but with ASUU strike their bows are free from the strings.
Moreover, students who are vocationally skilled we see this strike as a great blessing to focus on his or her handworks in order keep the pocket smiling. Another students might have in mind to learn vocational skills but with this strike which when it will be called off is difficult to predict is an opportunity to embark on such plans. Nigeria`s tertiary institution cannot cross the red sea of unproductivity if the federal government resist to create a way of appropriate funding of tertiary institutions and only by so doing can allow tertiary institution to function optimally and much to be expected from it.
Popooola Oladeji Abdullahi, Omii ogbon