By MUHAMMAD IBRAHIM, Kaduna
Recently, in December 2019, there was a statement on social media made by National President Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), at News Agency of Nigeria Abuja Forum that Nigerian universities are not conducive for learning.
This is true. But the question here is what makes Nigerian universities to be unconducive? This is what this piece attempts to answer. There are numerous reasons.
Most often, lecturers under the auspices of ASUU embark on nation wide strike. This is no longer news in Nigeria. At times they embark on an indefinite strike. The recent strike they embarked upon was about 4-month long. Recall how often ASUU embarked on strike always for one reason and another.
Apart from the case of academic staff under ASUU, even non academic staff have embark on strike in Nigerian universities. They contribute in one way or another to academic activities.
Also, the ASUU President stated that it is not a crime for lecturers to go on sabbatical in separate universities from their main employment. Even though the university standard provided for that as he said, some lecturers don’t do justice to students. They go on their sabbatical and leave students to their fate. One cannot deny that they need to borrow ideas from other universities and share as well.
Scandal of TETFUND projects in Nigerian universities too is no longer news. ICIR reports revealed how a university management and TETFUND were involved in multi million naira scandal. The investigations were carried out in several federal universities across Nigeria, including ATBU, ABU, FUD, and more.
TETFUND projects scandal have left various students and their lecturers with inadequate and insufficient learning materials, facilities which aid learning process.
Unconducive lecture halls, absence of enough practical equipment for some courses are the complaints of students across various institutions.
In many lecture halls, you will hardly see functioning public address system where need be. There are classes with hundreds of students attending lectures. It becomes very difficult for a lecturer to speak to their hearing. And there are lecturers who don’t like stressing themselves. They think they are helping students, not discharging their duties.
In some halls, students don’t have enough sitting materials. When passing some lecture theaters in Nigerian universities, you will see students sitting on bare floor.
Not too long to be forgotten, some Nigerian lecturers were exposed after demanding sex for grade. Documentary and other reports revealed this in Nigeria. So, how do we expect such institutions to be conducive for anything, not only learning? The system needs to be restructured. Having been revealed, the government must take serious action on it.
Lastly, students in Nigerian tertiary institutions are allowed to behave as they live thinking that they are now matured and they have freedom that must not be curtailed by the school management. Freedom of what? Even if that works in the 1990s, it won’t now because there are children (under the age of 18) in universities today. Whensoever a person is allowed to do what he wishes, he or she will possibly misbehave. Therefore, when it comes to the issue of sex for grade, we should blame the managements for not enforcing good dress code in universities.