Tunde Bolaji – Minna.
A University Teacher , Dr Stella-Maris Okey has lamented that the poor state of infrastructure across Nigerian universities has defeated the philosophy of education in the country.
Dr. Okey who is also the National Welfare Officer of the Academic Staff Union of Universities noted that the decay has defeated the philosophy of education which was meant to be qualitative, comprehensive, functional and relevant to the needs of the society.
In a paper she presented titled “Poor infrastructure in Universities: A validation of ASUU struggles” during a virtual workshop organized by the Minna branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) of the Federal University of Technology, the University the Don said lack of infrastructure have hampered the ability of universities to train graduates to meet the demands of the society and the world at large.
“History has it that Nigeria was a country that produced world-class higher education graduates that competed with their counterparts around the world. Hard work was their watch word. But, today the story is different. That is why it is history,” She posited.
Okey commended ASUU for being at the forefront of demanding for proper funding and revitalization of public universities, especially in terms of providing adequate infrastructure to aid effective academic exercise.
She noted that funding was the heart of education since it touches on various aspects of planning, facilities, equipment and recruitment of competent teachers.
“From 1990 to date, more than 20 strikes have been recorded in different universities based on poor working conditions. Also, near collapse of infrastructure in the university system has been responsible for the declining library, social and laboratory facilities in Nigeria universities,” she revealed.
She however expressed displeasure with the fact that the education sector has not been given its due in terms of budgetary allocation by the Federal Government as globally expected, while disclosing that funding is central in solving the poor infrastructural problems in public universities in the country.
“It is no more news that the Federal government and ASUU have been engaging in unproductive dialogue, negotiations and re-negotiations to drive home the need for the revitalization of universities. Regrettably, each time this matter is presented before the government; it is either abandoned or killed or unduly delayed as evident even in our present strike action that has lasted for more than three months now,” the ASUU National Welfare Officer stated
She further submitted that in spite of the poor state of infrastructure across public universities, ASUU has contributed immensely towards cushioning the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to her, the interventions of ASUU in curtailing the spread of the disease is evident in the production of hand sanitizers, face masks, customized buckets used as running water for hand washing and ventilators.
Okey recommended that the Federal and State Governments should consult all ASUU documents on how to manage universities as well as follow its implementation template, while also calling on ASUU to continue to press on the government to do the needful to save public university education from total collapse.