On the 15th of February 2022, the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU), which represents Nigerian lecturers, began a one-month strike. The union proceeded to strike for four weeks after issuing a one-day notice a week beforehand.
The declaration of the strike was made as a result of the resolutions passed by ASUU’s National Executive Council (NEC) at the end of its meeting. We’ll go over everything there is to know about the current ASUU strike in this detailed article. This will include details on the topic of contention, how it affects the students, and how to move ahead.
Backstory: The Motive Behind ASUU Strike
It’s no longer news that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) announced a one month shutdown of academic activities in Nigerian public universities. On Monday, February 14, the statement was issued as key component of its decisions at the end of its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Lagos.
The striking union’s communiqué claimed, “… NEC resolved to embark on a four-week roll-over total and comprehensive strike action beginning Monday 14th February 2022.”
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Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, the President of ASUU, declared the start of the strike at a news meeting on Monday (14 Feb). This was after a two-day meeting of the union’s National Executive Council (NEC).
He claims that the strike, which started right away, is “comprehensive and thorough.” He stated that, as much as they dislike having students stay at home and academic schedules interrupted, their demands must be fulfilled.
The lecturers’ requests range from increased staff pay to improved infrastructure at Nigeria’s public universities. The revitalisation of public institutions, earned allowance, greater funding of state universities, and promotion arrears are among the requests of the lecturers.
The Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities has also demanded that the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System be replaced (IPPIS). The Union solicit the Federal government to substitute IPPIS with its own University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) in the reimbursement of emoluments to its member.
The 2009 agreement signed with the Federal Government, according to ASUU, should be revisited every three years. However, the union claims that the Federal Government has refused to ratify and implement the agreement since it was signed by both parties.
Before the recent Strike, ASUU had decided to embark on a sensitisation campaign across campuses in the country. As a result of this effort, the union decided to hold a lecture-free day as a warning of upcoming strike action.
ASUU had gone on a nine-month strike in 2020 over the government’s inability to uphold its end of the bargain. During a consultative process with the Federal Government, the lecturers decided to call off the strike.
After the suspension, Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour, Employment and Productivity, promised that the lecturers would not be allowed to strike afterwards.
You might be wondering why, after both parties achieved an agreement on the subject, the strike is still going on. This, as well as many other aspects of the ASUU strike, will be covered in this piece.
Reasons for the ASUU Strike
The Academic Staff Union of Universities, or ASUU, briefed a group of journalists shortly after the strike began. Emmanuel Osodeke, the union’s president, spoke to the media in the Tayo Aderinokun auditorium at the University of Lagos, Akoka, and enumerated the motives for the strike.
First, the National Executive Chairman criticized the government for travesty to enforce the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Memorandum of Action (MoA) that the union and the government had signed.
The government’s negative attitude to paying academic earned allowances was the second cause for the strike’s start (EAA).
The ASUU body also objected to the persistent use of the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System for lecturers’ salaries.
The body is enraged by the government’s unwillingness to implement the Universities Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS). The Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities also advocates for the expansion of the country’s university system.
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All of these factors have been the source of contention between the union and the federal government throughout the current ASUU strike. So let’s look at these things in details.
Failure of the Government to Implement the MoU and MoA
The University lecturers had commenced on work stoppage for what they alluded to as government’s nonchalant attitude and untruthful temperament over the agreement it signed with the union in 2009.
According to ASUU, the strike was sparked by the federal government’s refusal to properly execute the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Memorandum of Action (MoA).
Recall, a Memorandum of Action, MoA, was signed among Federal Government and ASUU on December 23, 2020. After a nine-month strike was called off, the MoA was designed to solve pressing issues. Members are affected by the University Transparency Accountability Solutions (UTAS), the IPPIS, and the Earned Academic Allowances (EAA).
Funding for the Revitalization of Public and State Universities is another instance. The Union expressed disappointment that the Federal Government had yet to react on several of the MoA’s major issues. Nevertheless, with warnings of a new strike, the federal government hesitantly issued cash for EAA payment and some monies for the revitalization of public universities.
Imposition of IPPIS Payment Platform
The Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities opposes the intrusion of IPPIS, a “grotesque platform” for lecturers’ salaries. The union was forced to establish an alternate approach, the University Transparency and Accountability Solution, in response to the disagreement (UTAS).
As per the Union, UTAS is a cost-effective substitute payment system with the unique ability to combat corruption and protect Nigerian institutions’ hard-won autonomy for the country’s benefit. Unfortunately, the federal government is still drawing its feet on implementing it. This is in violation of a prior agreement with the union, resulting in the strike.
Unpaid Earned Academic Allowance
Another of the reasons for the strike, according to ASUU, is because of their unpaid Earned Academic Allowance (EAA). The Federal Government did promise to integrate the EAA into the yearly federal budget. This was stated in several memorandums with ASUU and the government. The government lately allocated N221 billion to cover the payment of some EAA entitlements. Long years of unfulfilled benefits, on the other hand, have triggered the industrial catastrophe.
On Visitation Panel
The Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities is likewise unhappy with the government’s visiting procedures. The group denounced what it called the “continuing delay” in the publication of white papers on the visitation panels’ reports to universities. The government established the panels.
According to ASUU, the government must make it essential for Visitation Panels to be sent to colleges on a regular (5-yearly) premise. They said it was a university-mandated key assessment obligation.
The Union stated emphatically that this is one of the reasons they were forced to take legal action to force the FGN to establish such panels.
The Impact of the ASUU Strike
The Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities’ strike has had a negative impact, and students are bearing the brunt of the results. The strike is wreaking havoc on Nigeria’s education sector by diluting the level of learning available to Nigerian students, which has been subpar at best.
Disruption of the Academic Calendar
ASUU has gone on a statewide strike upwards of 20 times ever since transition to democratic rule in 1999. During this time, students have missed nearly four years of their academic calendar.
One of the most serious consequences of the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities’ strike is that the overall university schedule has been interrupted.
This is especially true since that semesters are being ended prematurely. As a result of the compressed schedule, students are inundated with a large amount of academic work in a brief span of time.
On the aspect of the lecturers, protracted ASUU strikes, help in making them hurry schoolwork. The significance of this is that they frequently overlook important portions of their coursework. In the end, students’ performance suffers as a result of this “haphazard approach” to literary and scientific academic courses. This lowers the quality of our tertiary education system as a whole.
Underperformance by Students
The academic performance of students is negatively influenced, as well as the overall education framework is almost paralyzed. As a result, students and graduates are half-baked and unemployed.
As a result, graduates miss the fundamental abilities required to thrive in unpredictable countries such as Nigeria.
Consider a case in which a student gets turned away from taking an exam the next day in order to participate in a strike. A student in this situation may have to wait months before writing again. This will definitely impair the student’s preparation, resulting in underperformance.
When students return to school after a long period of strike action, they are known to fare badly in exams. This has nothing to do with the fact that they have fewer contact hours and are less motivated to read and perform research, both of which have an influence on the effectiveness of their education.
Longer Stay in School
Constant ASUU strikes inherently lengthen a student’s time in school, as well as the costs associated with it.
Owing to ASUU strikes, several undergraduates have been known to spend up to seven years on a four-year study. Students frequently discuss their graduation year for a four-year course by appending a mathematical numeral “X” to signify an indeterminate amount of years.
The strike’s continuation has a knock-on effect on several types of employment. Age is an important criterion for entry-level career jobs in the banking industry and the military, for instance.
Increasing Social Vices Among Students
Another result of the ASUU’s ongoing industrial activities is an upsurge in social crimes among students. This is the case when most students, after a period of being cooped up at home, decide to step out into the street to make a living. When the strikes are done, many of them do never revert back to school. Others turn to crime and criminal activity as a way of life. Advanced fee fraud, armed robbery, and kidnapping are examples of this type of crime. Others are consumed by adolescent misbehavior and indulge in vices such as gambling and wanderlust. In addition, some of the ladies are vulnerable to abusive relationships and unintended pregnancies.
What’s the Way Forward?
Strikes by the ASUU have a deleterious influence on students and quality of education in Nigeria, necessitating the need for a long-term remedy. We can see that there is no permanent solution at the present, as we have seen the temporary settlement of these industrial actions.
The administration must make sure that whatever arrangement it reaches with ASUU can be implemented. To avoid a halt in education, university lecturers should make sure that strike is always the final resort when it comes to addressing disputes with the government.
Furthermore, many lecturers lament the low pay of university teachers in comparison to that of elected and appointed public officials.
This is one of the things that irritates academics enough to embark on strike. One possible answer is for the government to continue to support ASUU. This will be accomplished through the policy-making process, which will include budgeting and implementation.
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The university and educational sectors should receive adequate funding.
ASUU has been calling for the government to provide more resources to the education sector. The truth is that no country can progress above its educational level.
According to the United Nations, education should account up at least 26% of a country’s budget. However, the maximum rate paid to the sector in Nigeria is six, seven, or eight percent. Does that imply that you’re taking this seriously?
To resurrect the educational system, our management must take meaningful efforts. The government should upgrade our school infrastructure, such as classroom blocks, labs, cafeterias, and hostels, among other things, to enhance the work atmosphere.
The elites’ neglect of local schools demonstrates the country’s terrible level of education. And even many politicians today have disregarded the sector to the point where they send their children to study overseas. Is this the right path to take?
As a nutshell, it is preferable that the ASUU strike issues be resolved as soon as possible so that university students do not remain to suffer unnecessarily. This is the only way we can move forward.
Let’s discuss ASUU strike in this detailed article. This will include details on how it affects the students, and how to move ahead.