[09:31, 9/20/2017] Moderator: Good morning comrades! Welcome to the 24hrs Debate session of Thursday, September 21, 2017. I am Donatus Samuel Chigozie, may I first begin by thanking the admin for this great privilege of anchoring today’s debate which will be centered on the suspended ASUU strike, the decay in the educational sector and the way forward.
Background: Education is fundamental to development and growth. The human mind makes possible all development achievements, from health advances and agricultural innovations to efficient public administration and private sector growth. For countries to reap these benefits fully, they need to unleash the potential of the human mind and there is no other better tool for doing so than education.
Industrial action has become a routine operation in the Nigerian educational sector since 1990, but took another dimension in 2009, after which the Federal Government entered an agreement with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and in 2013, the Federal Government also signed an MOU which it has not been able to honour, leaving our tertiary institutions at the mercy of the two warring elephants (ASUU & Federal Government).
(1) Who is to blame for the lingering Asuu strike since 2009
(2) Is the demands of Asuu extreme and unrealistic?
(3) Assuming you become the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, how do you intend to end this persistent industrial action and improve the quality of education in Nigeria?
(i) Be brief and to the point.
(ii) No foul language.
(iii) No attack on individuals as we are all entitled to our opinions.
(iv) Stick to the rules.
[10:09, 9/20/2017] Mark Dave: Yes! Who is to blame? Both parties of course, because none of the parties have shown genuine concern about the sympathetic educational situation. The ASSU member’s concern is simply their financial stake and not really a genuine concern about the standard of the education. This can be seen in their attitudes of diverting and siphoning away of the same meager funds gotten from the Government for their personal projects. What about some of them who awards marks to students who take not time to read? The strikes are just gimmicks of stealing huge amounts from the government, putting the students in the crossfire, whereas the government also has never been different from their myopic mindset in doing the needful.
The demands of Assu is in place, but the possibility of having such demands from the government that is always not having sufficient funds due to constant corruption is not feasible. And for the facts that such demands will also be revisited with same corruption, sometimes paralyzes the mind of a sitting government from doing the needful.
As head of a sitting government, having education as one of my priority, the fight of corruption must continue holistically so as to secure every government’s funds to be used in priority areas of my government. And to make sure that I do things differently from other governments, I will ensure round pegs in round holes, by employing only professionally trained administrative personnel into the administration of Federal governments agencies and parastatals.
Administrative mediocrity has so much encouraged mismanagement, primitive accumulation, and abandonment etc. amongst other things of these trends of government in power. Why will someone go to school to become a medical doctor just to end up being an administrative head without necessarily being a professional in administration? In fact this height of irresponsibility is caused by government’s act of mediocrity.
[10:23, 9/20/2017] Scott: What a topic, thank you Mr. Moderator. There is a saying that the best legacy a parent can leave for his child is Education. But our government and Assu are turning that to a different direction.
Both Assu and the government are to blame, but the government is to be blamed more, because it is their duty to make sure Education works no matter the condition, situation and challenge on ground
[11:05, 9/20/2017] Blessing: Good morning my fellow comrades. According to Nelson Mandela, Education is the key to success. If government does the right thing there will not be problem in the educational sector, look at the agreement in 2009, government didn’t keep to it, let them pay the staff their entitlement since December 2015, funding of universities for revitalization, pension, TSA and university autonomy and renegotiation of 2009 agreement. In my own opinion, the government is to be blamed seriously.
[11:23, 9/20/2017] Frank: Federal and State government should be blamed because of their careless and lack of interest on the policies affecting the Nigerian universities, most of them own private universities both home and abroad, special laws and ethical offices should be instituted to checks the excessiveness of the lecturers. Good and attractive salaries and allowances should be paid as at when due, newest and modern technology systems should be actively introduce, good lecture halls and a conducive learning environment should be maintained.
All these happens when the Federal government through the honourable Minister of Education play by genuine democracy that is of the people, by the people and for the people, and less I forget the ASUU & the STUDENTS UNION misbehaves with their right because the Federal and the State government are playing a negative role in the education sector.
For me our universities should not be politicized or negotiable because it should be paramount to every government for the production of generational leaders even those yet unborn.
[11:28, 9/20/2017] Ikechukwu: Good morning, Mr. Moderator and members of this Noble group, the blame for me should go to both parties because both have killed educational standards in the country. Education is seen as one of the apparatus for country’s development, but it pains me that our own government feel no concern about this issue .So many MOUs have been signed by the FG and no one see the light of the day.
Governments both past and present see nothing good in educational sector to invest in it, maybe because none of their kids school here in Nigeria and as such showcase nonchalant attitude by not implementing any of the agreement signed by both parties (Assu and FG).
On the other hand, Assu has failed to utilize or make judicious use of the little given to them by the FG, they have created so many channels of siphoning resources and when there is nothing to embezzle they threaten the government with strike. What happens to the funds generated by them through students, so for me the two parties are guilty as charged. Thank you and do have a wonderful deliberation.
[11:54, 9/20/2017] Scott: My blaming the government is based on these reasons.
- Federal government not keeping to their own bargain agreed on by both parties. That’s why the money being owned by government is going up by the day.
- 2. The government instead of increasing the Educational budget, they will be reducing it. Yet they will not pay the reduced budget.
[12:00, 9/20/2017] Otis: @Scott, Have you ever thought about the fact that the government as at then, was coerced into entering such a deal with ASUU? And now successive governments find it quite difficult to fulfill because most of them (the so called terms) can’t be met, at least, in the foreseeable future?
I am just a realist, sir.
[12:22, 9/20/2017] Darlington: Wonderful and articulate submissions have been made here by different enlightened individuals from varying schools of thought. I would however love to register my very precise submission on the subject.
The lingering issue of untamed industrial action in the country such as the one ASUU just embarked on is just a microcosmic manifestation of the many problems trailing the Nigerian state. In as much as we can try to be fair by diversifying blames to other players in the field of nation building, I would want to affirm, that governance and government remains the coach of the team(Leadership)thus a major carrier of the blame. Any form of underperformance however is deemed a manifestation of poor coaching cum leadership.
Now let me come down to our subject of debate. The high rate of technological and scientific advancement and the digitization of global market place following the advent of twenty first century is a direct product of the high premium the present world powers placed on education. Education has been seen as the only way through which and by which a country can grow. Disappointing as it may sound, Nigeria does not place such premium on educating its citizenry, little wonder, our stunted development.
The recent problem of ASUU is a failure of the political structure to define its priorities right. Why would the leadership of any nation sign a legal document such as an MOU if they weren’t going to honor it? In my opinion, lecturers and professors should even be the most (highest) paid jobs. They should be paid as at when due.
On the argument that the lecturers have been fundamental in producing half-baked graduates through encouragement of exam malpractice, sorting, nepotism, we cannot begin to blame the union ASUU, because these are individual actions and so cannot enjoy a holistic generalization. Also all these purported actions by the members that make up ASUU are all corrupt practices and corruption in Nigeria is one area only few Nigerians can go untouched by its long arms.
Psychologically, there is a natural tendency in humans to go against laws, that’s why there are punitive measures to discourage that. The question is, whose responsibility is it to fight corruption in a country. Whose responsibility is it to institute and ensure implementation of such measures? The corruption in Nigeria enjoys an uninterrupted downward flow from the top to the bottom, and that is why even the government finds it hard to raise structures that will monitor the activities of lecturers and prosecute any if found wanting.
The truth is that the problem with Nigeria can only be corrected at the top because that’s where it flows from. Another version of the truth is that the blame for Nigeria’s present state is shared by every Nigerian. What have we all done to solve the problem apart from talking about it?
@Otis, A government was coerced into signing a legal document? Please who else read this?
[12:24, 9/20/2017] Scott: @Otis, Very true sir, a government is a government, whether new or old, it’s the same structure that every government meet on ground to work on, improve on it and create new ones
You’ve said it all @Darlington
[12:48, 9/20/2017] Moderator: Governance is all about continuity, if the government is sincere on its own, it would have honoured the agreement, is the demands of Asuu more than what our legislatures pocket in the name of arrears, allowances etc?
Like a debater rightly said, the most appealing and sort after job should be teaching, but it is quite unfortunate that you hardly see a young guy who wants to take up teaching as a profession. Teachers are not even proud of themselves, but the future of every Nation lies with the teachers, one teacher has the ability to destroy a million destinies, we must invest on our teachers and the educational sector if we must match with the advanced Nations of the world.
[12:58, 9/20/2017] Darlington: Nice submission Mr. Moderator.
[13:12, 9/20/2017] Otis: Mr. Moderator, I leave room for opinions and weigh them all in the end. If your argument and submission makes logical sense to me I do nothing but to humbly agree.
Yes, in this case you have my humble submission.
What I deduce from your point is, no amount is too much to invest in education, the situation of the country regardless. I quite agree simply because I’m a realist and a very logical human being.
Sir, take a bow! 🎩
[13:48, 9/20/2017] Kimberly: Very true @Mr. Moderator, how much are those teachers paid normally compared to the minimum wage?
[13:54, 9/20/2017] Emmanuel: Good afternoon honorable people and Mr. Moderator for the much expected topic, education is the key, key to success!!! ASUU VS FG. I am a realist and I will blame the Federal Government in the case of ASUU and the woes in our education system, to back up my claims, over a long period of time now, ASUU have put their grievances with the federal government in the public domain, largely through academic conferences and press releases.
The grievances are in Legion including fractional, non-implementation of the 2009 agreement with the federal government, non-payment of the needs assessment intervention fund (NAIF).
Reduction of the federal government allocation to education from 12 percent in 2015 to 8 percent of the budget in 2016, even when 12 percent of the budget was allocated to education, there was/is no evidence to show that more than half of it was released to the union.
[13:56, 9/20/2017] Eze: What happens to the school fees students are paying???
[13:57, 9/20/2017] Chris Obi: Government is responsible. The lecturers are not demanding for what they are not entitled to. A workman requires his wages. Why would you enter an agreement and not keep to it?
[13:59, 9/20/2017] Eze: Has anybody seen that agreement if yes can they furnish us with a copy? So we can see what they are demanding. Sometimes when one is held ransom the demands can be crazy, so our arguments can be based on facts.
Since ASUU declared strike has anyone noticed all others have followed like it’s a planned work? But looking at it they strike for their payment but the services the people striking provide is terrible.
[14:05, 9/20/2017] Chris Obi: @Eze,If there was no agreement government would have said so. Remember, the current Minister confirmed that government has not kept its own side of the bargain or agreement. The agreement thus exists and (may) not be a document for this platform.
[14:13, 9/20/2017] Eze: @Chris Obi, please understand my line of thought before you respond, I said if we can see the kind of agreement they had so we know the content of the agreement.
[14:19, 9/20/2017] Emmanuel:
THE FALLEN STANDARD OF EDUCATION IN NIGERIA (ASUU Strikes)
I am always baffled and dumbfounded when I hear Nigerians going to other African countries like Niger, Ghana and others for studies, this is because both federal and state government over time failed to give citizens and enabling environment for studies because of corrupt institutions, a course which is ideally supposed to be for four years students will be spending six to seven years because of strike.
If students have been paying school fees and acceptance fees and we perceived that monies have been squandered by Universities, I believe we have ministry of education, house committee on education in the both chambers of the National assembly and university acts, why don’t they call them to order and explanation, all these happened because we have round pegs in square holes, those in authority should check and supervise the activities of this Union and any other body.
[14:23, 9/20/2017] Moderator: Here is a copy of the agreement FGN.ASUU-INITIALED-AGREEMENT-JAN.-2009
[14:24, 9/20/2017] Eze: Thank you Mr. Moderator.
[14:27, 9/20/2017] Scott: Assu demands is not extreme neither is it unrealistic because it is an agreement between both parties. And it is the duty of the Federal government to meet what they have agreed upon. Educational sector is not something you toy with, if you play with it, you will miss it. And I think our government has missed it.
The government of the day needs to go back to the drawing board and make amends while ASSU take care of the university in the way it ought to be.
[14:42, 9/20/2017] Emmanuel: ASUU’s demands are not unrealistic just like Scott said, but what the union ought to have done or what they should do is pick one or two problems at a time and negotiate their resolution rather than go to the negotiation table with a whole load of demands or problems, of course government cannot focus on the union alone.
Lastly, as the C in C of the federal Republic, if a budget is allocated to your ministry and it is not made judicious use of, when next you come you must defend the previous one before another will be allocated to you. It is because we have leaders with questionable characters in the national assembly as house committee chairpersons who collaborate with ministers and without vivid and sound defense of their allocations that every year they pie up lump sum of money given to them and at the end nothing is actualized.
In the words of @Mark Dave, I will fight corruption holistically taking it to every nook and cranny of the government because the whole thing centers on bad governance, corruption, and non-accountability in governance. God bless Nigeria and Talk-am Team.
[14:45, 9/20/2017] Moderator: Education in Nigeria is poorly funded, United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recommends that 26% of the nation’s budget should be allocated to the educational sector(source). This way, the educational sector will have a good impact on the national development. According to the analysis done by a leading media outlet Daily Trust in 2016, the joint expenditure of the federal and 33 state governments on education is 8.44% of their total budget for the year. Also, there is a huge gap in the funding of education at the different levels of the government.
[15:18, 9/20/2017] Frank: I sincerely don’t see why government should be negotiating with our educational sector, they should rather go ahead and do the needful by giving the best to the lecturers, the students and the country at large also set a record while other countries emulate.
The entire system is corrupt minded, health and educational sector should not be calling for negotiations please, if at all the government actually knows what they are doing.
On transit to Jos- just felt necessary to participate after a while now but have been dropping my feelings for each debate on the page box- thank you and good submission from you all and have a nice day my learned colleagues.
[15:30, 9/20/2017] Chris Obi: Thank you Mr. Moderator for providing a copy of the agreement. @Eze, you have it. Proceed with your argument.
[15:31, 9/20/2017] Eze: I just wanted to have an idea on the kind of agreement they went into, as much as our educational sector isn’t funded, the kind of teaching style and mental challenges our lecturers give are not problem solving or challenging the students to be creative.
I have said that professor of mechanical engineering cannot service his motor, chemical engineering professor no fit come up with a perfume. Students will write notes and read and write exams and that’s it case closed, no push by the teachers to be innovative.
Do you know that innovation from schools can fund education in some of our universities? After the government meets their demand is there any proof that our higher institution can become innovative and creative? After going through the 4 walls of a university can a Nigeria student be mentally and creatively sound enough to be on his own and use the knowledge acquired to sustain themselves?
One of the reasons we have a large amount of unemployment is that out graduates from universities don’t acquire any creative knowledge to stand on their own and come up with anything innovative. Personally I say enough of this theory education that has gotten us nowhere and yes to non-formal education (apprenticeship education) so that when you graduate you have a practical knowledge of how things work.
Our system of education should be looked into, we as Nigerians can change the system to provide for a more hands-on form of education.
[15:44, 9/20/2017] Moderator: @Eze, I get your points Sir! But as an employer of labour, you set the standard and come up with measures that will ensure that your employees meet up with your set goals, the government has neglected the sector and thus the decadence we witness today.
[15:46, 9/20/2017] Eze: Mr. Moderator, I am also an employer of labour, my workers liked what I do and came on board and now I can send them to work and with few instructions they know what I want because they are hands-on workers. I also learnt by understudying someone, our system has too much paperwork and no practice.
Which engineering lecturer services his generator but one guy that can barely put a complete sentence together will do it without breaking a sweat.
[15:48, 9/20/2017] Moderator: We have seen cases where lecturers come to class twice in a whole semester, but what measures has the government put in place to curb such? About the engineering lecturer, do our universities have the facilities required to attain such level of technology?
[15:50, 9/20/2017] Eze: @Mr. Moderator, good question but that lecturer will leverage on that 51 page agreement and shout strike. On level of technology, you can partner with someone that owns a workshop, if you are ready to impart knowledge.
That is being creative on the part of the lecturer if he can do that for his students instead of selling a huge volume of hand out for 10k a piece. That money can be used to pay the shop owner for the inconveniences. It’s your students, they will be proud of you as a lecturer because they know that at the end they will benefit. So the day they see a generator problem they solve it and get paid, some of them can even build their own. That’s how innovation starts.
Let our students know how thing work not read about it, they should experience it so from there their minds can be open to possibilities. All this talk about government won’t help, let them take initiative and I ask again since the government has to provide everything for the schools WHAT HAPPENS TO THE SCHOOL FEES the students pay?
[16:17, 9/20/2017] Eghosa: Good day all, thanks to our moderator. Our education sector needs intervention. @Eze, you’re so on point, our institutions can partner private workshops for practicals and seminars, and they need to think outside the box.
21/09/2017 20:35:54: Scott: Being the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I will tackle the issue of politicians and civil servants stealing government funds meant for Education. Which is one of the major banes of our Educational backwardness, it has affected, crippled and has frequently caused strike in our nation.
Less public stealing would mean that education on all levels could truly be provided free of charge in Nigeria and hence ASUU strikes would be unnecessary. The Educational system is may not be entirely free, but this strategy will go a long way to arrest the problem of frequent strike in Nigeria.
More also, As the president, I will direct the minister of Education to call on university alumni to help their alma maters through establishing a special endowment fund to enable the universities have enough money to pay staff salaries and allowances to avoid strikes in the future.
21/09/2017 20:43:09: Eze: If I may ask, how do you go about free education? I understand subsidize education but free hmm, before free try and subsidize it.
21/09/2017 20:48:13: Scott: @Eze, We are say the same thing, less stealing in government will go a long way to help the Educational system. Thank u for that point, from less stealing to subsidy, from subsidy to free Education. It is possible, we have the resources. Thank u.
21/09/2017 20:50:07: Eze: You will have to sack a lot of people to get that done because, some people hold the system hostage.
21/09/2017 20:50:41: Scott: It may interest us to know/note that in the whole world, it is only in Nigeria that academic activities are disrupted because of strike by university lecturers.
21/09/2017 20:51:24: Eze: I ask wetin Dem dey do with school fees? Our country is bedeviled by terrible management. Abroad schools get their funding from different sources, not essentially government
Do you know how much a school will make by taking loan from bank and building hostels standard ones using their student architects, both inside and outside campuses, Solid school transportation system within campus alone?
Think of business ideas the schools can come up with, Not after folding their hand no ideas nothing wait for government to spoon feed them, and still chop the school fees.
21/09/2017 21:10:45: Frederick: They are not using their students for any project and before they give you job or project you will be asked for years experienced.
21/09/2017 21:15:07: Magnificent: Failed State and failed educational system that is producing some half educated people. How many graduates can proficiently tailor their knowledge with their degree? Federal government should restructure our educational system.
22/09/2017 00:10:14: Moderator: A big shout out to everyone who participated in today’s debate, Nigeria indeed has potentials in us all, thank you all and also to the admin of Talk-am moderators who offered us this platform to be heard.
I will kick off with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically, intelligence plus character, that is the goal of true education, I am of the opinion that the greatest weapon to change the world is Education, like Aristotle rightly said, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it”. Today our young men embrace terrorism, violence, thuggery, cultism because the mind has not been properly educated, I am of the thought that both ASUU and the Federal Government lack patriotism, I wholeheartedly agree with ASUU that what we call universities today is a total mockery of the old French word universite, from Latin universitas “the whole” as our universities have become fragmented, our problems however, go beyond funds and cannot be solved by increased funding alone, secondly, a thorough evaluation will reveal that not a lot has been achieved through flippant recourse to strikes.
The manner our universities are being run now cannot guarantee good products, Our lecturers seem insulated from cutting edge thinking needed for this century, people graduate from universities completely alienated from the institutions based on what they experienced as we no longer produce total persons, dissent is no longer seen as a mark of freedom in the academia and students are regularly hounded because of their union activities.
Thirdly, bad governance and policies has always been the problem of Nigeria, the educational sector is politicized, what we have today as the governing council/board of our universities are bunch of politicians and not intellectuals who can drive the sector forward, poor governance has crippled most sectors in Nigeria today, the educational sector is not an exception, schools lack practical or technical facilities, the teachers are not motivated, the set of leaders we have today does not have the interest of this nation at heart, the teachers/lecturers and ASUU all have their short comings, but the government should have the capacity to come up with measures or a system of checks on the teachers/lecturers to ensure that they deliver.
In conclusion, we will be able to see real changes in the level of education in Nigeria, when power will belong to visionary and selfless leaders who understand the importance of quality education; Our future is in our hands.
God bless Nigeria, God bless the youth, God bless Talk-Am Moderators. Moderator’s Thoughts
Do you feel differently about our views, please let’s here from you.
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