The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is on its 16th strike since Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999, shutting down academic activities in public universities for more than 4 years within 23 years – a duration that is sufficient to complete a whole four-year degree program.
In 2020, ASUU went on a 9-month strike, which accounts for the longest since 1999, and about two years later, on February 14, 2022, went on a 4-week warning strike before it declared another eight weeks saying that it was giving “the government more time to attend to its need.”
Upon the expiration, it announced additional eight weeks. The union has now announced a 12-week roll-over strike action, with effect from Monday, 9th May 2022.
- ASUU meets over 12-week strike
- ASUU strike extended till August
The strike lingered until October 17th, 2022 when it was later suspended.
These constant disruptions of academic activities in the nation’s public universities come with serious impacts on the students, many of whom have been expressing their frustration with the painful inability of the federal government and the academic union to resolve their crises.
Causes Of ASUU Strike In Nigeria
Have you ever thought of what is causing the ASUU strike in Nigeria almost every year?
Because without first knowing the causes of the strike, it will be impossible to offer a solution to the problem.
So, here are the major causes of the ASUU strike in Nigeria:
- The refusal of the Federal government to meet ASUU demands.
- The decrease in budgetary allocation to education.
- The refusal of the Federal government to renovate, revitalize, and improve universities in Nigeria.
These and many other issues between the Federal government and the ASUU are the causes of the strike.
However, Daily Trust highlights some of the ways the ASUU strike affects the students, which include:
Effects Of ASSU Strike On The Students
More years to graduate
It is usually difficult for undergraduates at the Nigerian public universities under ASUU to graduate within the four, five, or six years they’re originally supposed to spend for their courses due to the disruptions in academic activities, leading to constant review of the academic calendars. Sometimes, a student studying for a four-year degree program spends up to five or more years to graduate.
Ayinde David, a Twitter user with the handle @AyindeDavid6 wrote, “This strike is hazardous to students and the FG doesn’t even care. My School ID card says 2018-2022. It’s 2022 and I’m still in my penultimate year. We are tired and want to go back to the classroom.”
The toll on mental health
Many students have complained that while universities are on strike, they mostly remain bored and idle at home while waiting for when schools will reopen. Such boredom and idleness can sometimes lead to mental health challenges which include depression and anxiety, thus taking a toll on the student’s mental health.
Abdullahi Ibrahim Jalo, a 500-level student of Pharmacy at Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, while speaking to Daily Trust about his experience, said the strike has affected his mental health in some ways, particularly by inducing anxiety about whether academic activities will resume or not, and when.
He said, “There has been that anxiety of when we are going to resume if we are even going to resume because I want to graduate in time to be able to apply for jobs that come with age limits. Many other life plans such as marriage, keep getting disrupted.”
Waning interest in the educational system
With the many ways the constant strikes delay and frustrate students, some students have resorted to looking for opportunities to earn stipends. This situation makes education less interesting and sets them in a tight corner when classes resume from the industrial action.
On Twitter, @Maigari33 said, “We Nigerian students don’t actually care about education anymore, because already, the govt has convinced us that education is useless. We prefer to do EndSars and other protests than to do education protests.”
Waste of accommodation rent
Another serious effect of the strike is that many students who stay off-campus end up burning their rent since they can’t stay in the rented apartments during the shutdown.
A final year student of International Relations in ABU Zaria, Muhammad Maina, told Daily Trust that he fears the N180,000 he paid for his accommodation would waste before schools resume.
“This strike has been affecting me seriously, especially mentally. In fact, I have paid N180,000 for my accommodation, so now if it persists I would end up having to repay,” he said.
Rushed academic calendar
Usually when the strike is called off, the management of various universities “rush” students to quickly cover the remaining academic workload to end the semester. This has therefore, in many ways affected the students’ chances of learning well and without the stress of having to quickly prepare for C.A. tests, exams, etc.
Godwin Jackson, a final year law student at the University of Abuja recalled how after the 9-month ASUU strike in 2020, students had to quickly cover up the curriculum and start exams in just five weeks.
“After that 2020 strike, when we resumed, our lecturers rushed us to cover the remaining lectures and do exams. It was really tough and stressful having to read for two or three tests in the night every day,” he lamented.
Unstable Academic Calendar
Another consequence of the ASUU strike is that it fosters an unstable academic calendar. That affects the smooth running of the programs and the administration of the school entirely.
Negative Impact On The Life Career of Students
The constant ASUU strike happening in Nigeria does not only affect the education and academic career of the students. But the strike also affects the life career of students in different ways.
Every student has plans and ambitions in life, which can be time sometimes.
For example, some students have planned to graduate from school at a certain age to chase their passion and chosen careers.
However, the ASUU strike has delayed many students from graduating at the right time, and that leads to a change in their life plans and careers.
Also, time is money, and it should be spent wisely. Meanwhile, the ASUU strike has wasted the time of many Nigerian students, and that cannot be regained again.
What Is The Solution To The ASUU Strike?
As a Nigerian student, you have to realize that the solution to the ASUU strike is not in your hands.
Yes, students can protest for the strike to end, but that can happen if the Federal government take the right action.
So, only the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Federal government can provide a solution to the strike.
However, there is something important Nigerian students that are affected by the ASUU strike can do.
So, what can you do for yourself in a strike like this?
Wise students can use this strike time to their advantage. How? By using this time to invest in themselves.
How? By learning high-income skills that can make them valuable now and in the future.
Besides, we are not in a job economy again but in a skilled economy. Companies now hire people with more valuable skills than graduates.
And one of the best things you can do for yourself as a Nigerian is to learn high-income or valuable skills.
The strike is wasting your time already and you should utilize this time to equip yourself with valuable skills.
Also, improve your communication skills, learn personal development, and build relationships with valuable people. This can be the best decision of your life as a Nigerian student.
I hope you find this article helpful.