Industrial actions are justifiable ways by which workers worldwide demand their rights and express their grievances after every other method has failed, but the case with Nigeria has apparently gone beyond the ordinary. Strike actions have become common phenomena particularly in the education sector and this is a big cause of worry which calls for urgent attention. While one may castigate education workers for their incessant resort to strikes, one should as well dish out an adequate portion of blame to the Government which constantly fails to meet the needs of workers in the education system despite their immense contributions to the nation’s development.
CAUSES OF ASUU STRIKE ACTIONS
Strikes are not limited to the tertiary institutions where the cost of operation is expectedly high. As a matter of fact, workers at the elementary level of learning are not left out. The causes of strikes at all levels are more or less similar but quite more complex among higher institution workers. They range from non-payment of salaries, arrears of allowances, unfavourable working conditions and policies to other administrative reasons. These have been the major reasons for the hue and cry among education bodies and associations such as the National Union of Teachers (NUT), the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) and several others.
IMPACT OF WORKERS’ STRIKE ON THE EDUCATION SYSTEM
INCESSANT STRIKE ACTIONS AND ITS EFFECTS ON TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS IN NIGERIA are felt in more ways than one both by the individual student and the system at large.
1. Disruption of the academic calendar
The most primary effect of strike on the tertiary education system is the automatic truncation of the school calendar. An academic session which should span only 8-10 months is extended unnecessarily. The effect, of course, goes beyond the sessional school calendar as students are forced to spend five or more years on programmes which should span only four years. The injury is further compounded by the age limit placed on jobs in the labour world!
2. Poor Students’ academic performance
It goes without mention that strikes take a toll on students’ interest in academics. The frustration that accompanies such languishing stay away from school make students develop anathema for studies. Upon resumption eventually, many students only engage passively in academic works and study to pass rather than to know. On several cases, massive failure is often recorded after long strikes.
3. Students’ involvement in Social vices
Each time there is a strike action, thousands of jobless youths are set loose, of course, wandering the streets in search of what to lay their hands on. For those who are not able to engage in something productive and do not possess enough sense of morality to keep them in check, crime becomes the way out. Cyber crimes, thievery, fraud, betting, prostitution become the order of the day.
4. Imbalance within the education system
Where the strike is not national, there is often an imbalance in the education system in that, while some schools are far ahead, others may lag behind thereby creating unnecessary divides between tertiary institutions in the country.
Having so far discussed the STRIKE ACTION AND THE STUDENT: THE WOES OF NIGERIAN EDUCATION SYSTEM, the onus, therefore, rests with the Government to ensure the provision of men, materials and money needed to avert strikes. Academic bodies should as well embrace other peaceful measures of expressing their displeasures rather than strikes. On a final note, students should ensure that such strike periods are put to productive use rather than wander about.