I congratulate you on your appointment sir. You are one my most admired and respected journalist/columnist because my dad and I don’t miss your column on fridays. I believe you are the kind of reformer we need in the education ministry at a time like this when our educational system in shambles and a disgrace.
Nigeria is still uncertain where it is headed. In other words, her destination is still unknown. The Nigerian world has blamed the woes of Nigeria, and in particular that of the educational sector, to the many years of military misrule. There is the common feeling that the military neglected the universities because of their opposition to military rule. But with the re-emergence of civil rule the nation’s educational institutions are still in shambles today, with university professors still not being paid on time. (Some may argue that the universities have started to claw their way back to normalcy with the reprise of civil rule – not democracy. See Bollag Feb 1, 2002). But that remains to be seen!
I’m a 400 level law student of University of Jos and since I got into the University in 2011, I have never experienced a hidge-free session. In my 100 level, ASUU went on strike for 3 months. In 200 level, ASUU went for six months strike. In my 300 level, we had a students protest which turned bloody and the school was shutdown for 3 months and now in 400 level, ASUU(internal) has embarked on another strike for almost 3 weeks now.
The reason behind this recent strike according what we learnt is because of some unpaid allowances to the lecturers and other issues as raised by ASUU to the school management. We have heard rumours of several meetings between the two parties but all to no avail. We the students who are always at the receiving end are left broken and helpless as we can’t even pour out of grievances and frustration because like the saying goes, when the elephants fight, its the ground that suffers. I pray for a Nigerian university with no ASUU strikes.
Recapitulating the status of education in Nigeria in the 1960’s and comparing it with what obtains today, one would agree that the standard has truly fallen. Things have really fallen apart as Chinua Achebe (1983) would say. Professor D. Akunjili at one time captured this ugly situation in these words. “Our present educational system is a disaster that has stifled creativity and hampered the emergence of excellence”(2007). Which means that our educational system is already a disaster and the incessant strikes is only making it worse.
As we speak no Nigerian university is among the 1000 best Universities in the world which tells anyone who cares to know that our educational system is indeed a disaster. Nigerians are in Benin Republic, Togo, Ghana, Kenya and other countries getting sub-standard education and importing it back to us to give us a taste of the disappointment that my brother calls “Nigeria in trouble” simply because we have failed to provide them with a better learning environment.
I agree with Prof Abiola Awosika when she noted that “our problems are many” adding that “I shudder when I think of what we need to do to overhaul this educational system”. I join my voice in calling on President Buhari to declare a state of emergency in education like he promised to do in the petroleum sector because any nation with an educational disaster like Nigeria is a danger to itself.
I wish you the best Mallam as you tackle the problems facing our educational system and I pray you succeed. I have followed your column for years and you’ve written on different issues facing Nigeria and proffering solutions to them. Now Nigeria has given you the opportunity to write your name in gold by changing the sad tales of our educational system.
But for now please intervene in the University of Jos strike issue for an immediate solution because myself and thousands of my colleagues are tired of staying at home while our other colleagues in other schools are in currently school.