SIR: Nigerian university students have been at home for over about eight months now. First, the COVID-19 pandemic struck and forced higher institutions to shut down in March. The unfortunate unavailability of digital learning systems in several public higher institutions across the country coupled with poor and expensive internet access and inconsistent power supply meant that students had to stay back until it was safe to resume.
But as the country returns to full operations, students of these institutions have had their hopes of resumption dashed by the current disagreement between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the federal government. This prolonged stay at home is not only dangerous for millions of students at home but also bad for the country. If the Buhari administration is indeed concerned about the future of this country, then they should fast track the resolution of the ASUU crisis and get the students back to school immediately.
Everyone knows that children of a majority of Nigerian politicians attend foreign schools and those that don’t, attend private institutions in Nigeria. This means that they do not feel the brunt of this unending stay at home. But our politicians cares a bit about the future of this country, they should make frantic efforts to resolve the ASUU strike because if otherwise, the consequences will be grievous.
Worse, the prolonging the resumption could push more students into the dire situation of taking risky and dangerous occupations or even taking up arms. After all, as the agelong saying goes, an idle hand is the devil’s workshop. There are also gender implications to this unnecessary delay in students’ education. Many female students could fall victim of unwanted pregnancies which could, in turn, disrupt their education and also affect their chances of getting good jobs.
The trend of constant disruption in learning is also not good for the students and employability. While some can learn and acquire one or two skills for the duration of their stay at home, the majority are unable to and end up losing interest in education. Their disinterests may, therefore, force them to drop out or look for alternative sources of wealth creation, sometimes illegally. This coupled with the fact that Nigerian universities hardly prepare their students for the labour market is disastrous for Nigeria’s human capital development.
Rather than boast of providing opportunities like N-Power and other menial jobs for Nigerian youths in the name of empowerment, the government needs to focus more on providing an enabling environment for students and youths to thrive. This starts with meeting ASUU’s demands, resolving the strike and ensuring a smooth and uninterrupted learning experience for Nigerian students.
- Daniel Whyte, Twitter @DanWhyte
Read the original article on The Nation