The back and forth between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) leaves one wondering what the future holds for the Nigerian education sector. The situation does not seem to be getting any better with the recent division among members of the academic staff union.
Since ASUU embarked on its eight-month-long strike, the closest they have come to reaching an agreement with the government was a week ago when the FG agreed to suspend the controversial Integrated Payroll Personnel Information System (IPPIS), and offered N65 billion to address some of the lecturers’ demands.
For a while, FG’s offer appeared like a quick fix to the impasse; students had their hopes up as they expressed their eagerness to return to school and wrap up their studies so they can move on with their lives. Sadly, their hopes were dashed yet again following the inability of the different branches of the academic body to reach a consensus as to whether or not FG’s offer should be accepted.
While some branches of the union were said to have voted to call off the strike based on FG’s offer; others do not think it is a good idea to do so without getting their full demands met. The division among the members of the academic body is obviously not a good sign for Nigeria’s education sector. This is because there is no guarantee that they will not embark on another strike in the near future to demand that the initial agreement to be implemented, that is if they accept FG’s offer now.
On the other hand, the education sector might be preparing for a bigger problem if the union remains divided over what to do about FG’s offer. So, where do we go from here? The best approach to solving this problem is for members of the various branches of ASUU to arrive at a consensus as they work towards reaching a more satisfactory agreement with the government.
They should also bear in mind that the future of the students is at stake; as well as consider the impact the final agreement they reach will have on Nigeria’s education system with the ultimate goal of saving the future of tertiary education in Nigeria.