By: Emmanuel Cosmas
The Academic Staff Union of Universities, (ASUU) Calabar zone has expressed sadness over decay in Nigeria’s education sector after 58years of Independence, stressing that worsening socio-economic and political situation has placed the sector as the first victim of
inefficiency in governance.
The union which spoke through its Zonal Coordinator Dr. Aniekan Brown regretted that state governors across party divides have assumed the status of pariah-lords and master over those who elected them to serve.
He added, “With as many as 17 state governments failing to provide the matching grants for accessing Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) funds to support ‘Free, Universal and Compulsory’ basic education in the country, it is little surprise that most public primary and tertiary schools are in despicable and deplorable states from which no one should expect a solid foundation for Nigeria’s educational development.
“Successive governments are more interested in securing a second term of office to itself after inauguration than preparing the next generations of Nigerians for the challenges of competitive global economy, which can only be guaranteed by sound, qualitative, affordable and accessible education.
” The continuous failure of government to honour agreements reached with the union clearly demonstrates to our members that the government is not interested in addressing the rot and decay in the Nigerian university system”
The ASUU Zonal Coordinator who described funds allocated to the education sector as paltry, stressed that government must be alive to its responsibility of making sure that education is affordable and accessible for the citizens especially in the tertiary institutions.
He condemned recent moves by government to shy away from its responsibility by trying to commercialize public universities in the country, stressing that Nigeria as a third world country does not have what it takes to commercialize its public universities.
” Both Federal and state governments believe in prolifering tertiary institutions, particularly universities for prestige and political reasons, but not for the sake of fulfilling an obligation to the people. Many of these academic institutions established without any funding agenda , like those in existence before them are now , in less than ten years crying loud for survival.
“We must note that education is not a luxury reserved for a privileged few but a common good for every citizen. It should therefore be affordable, not commercialized. Government must rise to its responsibility of making qualitative education affordable and accessible to Nigerians.
“Money spent on education should not be seen as expenditure, but as investment, that is why we are saying government should invest in university education. We therefore call on well-meaning Nigerians to prevail upon government to rise to its responsibilities”
Published in maiden edition, Lens Newspapers Vol. 1 No. 13.