It is no doubt that the incessant strikes by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, which are caused by the federal government’s nonchalant attitude, have bastardised our education system. The President Muhammadu Buhari administration has set a record of having the longest strike in his tenure and the move towards the privatisation of public universities.
After the call off of the recent strike in October 2022 due to the Industrial Court ruling and the intervention of the Speaker of the House of Representatives Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, the federal government still went ahead to withheld the eight months salaries of lecturers. The Minster of Labour Dr Chris Ngige insisted that they were paid on pro-rata basis.
Failure of the government to fund public universities amid skyrocketing inflation has forced public universities to increase fees which spells doom for the poor and hapless Nigerian student. The economy is already in a mess with most students dropping out due to lack of funds to continue their education, which is a huge setback for the nation. No nation develops without adequately funding and developing its education sector. Sadly, the Nigerian government is not interested in doing so. All hands need to be on deck to make the government to do the needful.
The University of Maiduguri, Federal University Dutse, Federal University Dutsin-ma have increased their registration fees with more universities on the verge of doing so. Despite NANS letter to the federal government and the threat to stage protests by Northern students unions nothing has been done. The bitter truth is that public universities will no longer be accessible as many will drop out if nothing is done to stop the increment.
Government needs to know that the youths are the bedrock of a nation and they can only move the nation forward when they are equipped with education. Increasing the fees of public universities amidst a surge in the cost of living will do more harm than good because majority of the students will drop out which in turn will increase the rate of social vices already bedeviling the country.
Department of Mass Communication, Bayero University, Kano.