The Collapse Of Varsity Education In The South-East


Everyone knows that education is in shambles all over Nigeria. However, the state of  university education in the South-East region is so appalling that members of the  Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, had to call out lecturers to protest on the  streets. The lecturers in the state-owned universities took to the streets recently when  the five state governments in the zone ignored the lecturers who have been on strike  since 22 July this year.

At the forefront of the protest was ASUU President, Professor Ukachukwu Awuzie who  condemned the rot in the state-owned universities in the geopolitical zone. According to  him, the governments have been paying lip service to university education and have failed  to take concrete steps to improve facilities in the universities which are in abysmal  shape. To make matters worse, non-academic staff have also joined the strike, thus  paralysing academic activities completely.

The rot in the state-owned universities in the South-East is also replicated in  federal-owned universities where even basic facilities and equipment needed for learning  are not available. The absence of facilities needed for conducive learning has turned  most universities into glorified secondary schools. In fact, some private secondary  schools boast of laboratories where science students carry out experiments whereas  universities don’t have such facilities.

We support Awuzie who has blamed Igbo leaders for not speaking out against the eastern  state governments for neglecting tertiary education. Awuzie is seeking a minimum  benchmark for standard of university education in the east in accordance with the  requirement of the National Universities Commission, NUC, on accreditation for  universities. Some of the affected state universities are Enugu State University of  Science and Technology, ESUT, Imo State Univerity, IMSU and Abia State University, ABSU.  The crisis must be resolved now so that the students can resume.

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In some of the universities, students  do not sit down while receiving lectures because  of lack of chairs and tables in the classrooms. Should such institutions be called ivory  towers or centres of academic excellence? It is this state of affairs that has given rise  to the sprouting of private universities across the country. But how many parents can  afford the huge tuition fees demanded by the private universities? Some demand as much as  N450,000 per student per session. Only the rich and thieving public office holders can  send their children to such universities.

The rot in the nation’s education has persisted because virtually all public office  holders and the rich send their children abroad to learn. To these people, it does not  matter if the education system collapses completely. The progressive decline in our  education system began in the late 80s after the military took over power and bastardized  everything while pillaging the nation. Since then there has been no concerted effort to  rebuild the decaying infrastructure; even successive civilian administrations that took  over power eleven years ago have continued to turn a blind eye to the urgent need to  reverse the sad trend.

The future of our youths will continued to be mortgaged if the state and federal  governments fail to enact policies that could prevent things from getting worse. The  future of the nation’s education so bleak that, even at the moment Nigeria, according the  Global Campaign for Education, GCE, has world’s worst education enrolment, with 8.2  million children out of school. With this huge number of children out of school, what is  the fate of tertiary education in the next few years? The issue of kidnapping didn’t  manifest suddenly. It is a product of the criminal neglect of the youths whose energy  could have been properly harnessed to serve the nation in better capacities if they had  gone to school and were properly trained and employed after their graduation. Insecurity  will persist in our country as long as our idle youths cannot go to school and learn how  to improve themselves and contribute their quota to the development of the society.

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