It is no longer news that the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) has been on strike for almost nine months now. I have done an empirical analysis of what Nigerian students as well as lecturers will gain and lose as a result of the current struggle.
GAIN OF LECTURERS
1. Payment of 40 billion naira salary arrears.
2. Payment of salaries and entitlements for the several months in which they didn’t work.
3. Approved salary package for ASUP Members.
4. 65-year retirement age for its members.
NEGATIVE EFFECT OF THE STRIKE ON LECTURERS
1. Those who have children or wards in Polytechnics too will be affected.
GAINS OF THE STRUGGLE FOR STUDENTS
1. The funds promised by the Federal Government to be released for infrastructure will be used to meet the immediate needs of our schools. Some will use the funds to construct more hostels, some will use it to equip libraries, provide internet connectivity, build laboratories and furnish them, amongst others. These are projects that will aid learning and ultimately benefit students.
2. Those that will later join the academia and become Lecturers in Polytechnics among us will also have the benefit of retiring at 65 years.
3. Those that will join the academia among us will also enjoy the special allowances that the current struggle will benefit lecturers in the years to come.
NEGATIVE EFFECT OF THIS STRUGGLE FOR STUDENTS.
1. BATTERED ACADEMIC CALENDAR
Our Schools have lost a session which cannot be made up for. Most schools were either in their second semester of the 2012/2013 session or were rounding up their first semester exams when the strike began.
This as resulted to an abridged session and most schools will finish their 2012/2013 session in 2014.
What this implies is that those that wrote the 2013 UTME and has been be offered admission will not resume. This will inadvertently result in late resumption of the 2013/2014 academic session which is likely to finish in 2015 (only God knows when ASUP will call off ). Academic calendar is thus in tatters!
2. DELAY IN NYSC MOBILIZATION.
As a result of this strike action, most Polytechnics (except State Polytechnics) were not able to present Students for November 2013, BATCH ‘C’ service year and February 2014 BATCH ‘A’ service year and with the look of things, Some Polytechnics might not be able to meet up with June 2014 BATCH ‘B’ Service year.What this means is that some students who were supposed to go for service in 2013 will be deferred to November,2014 and some till February 2015. Are you calculating the time wasted?
3. SOME PROJECT STUDENTS MIGHT HAVE TO START ALL OVER
2012/2013 Final year students of most Federal Polytechnics who were working on their projects when the strike action began might have to start again because the results obtained then might not be tenable again. This results in waste of scarce resources, time and energy.
Let us be factual and move forward.When ASUP started this struggle, they had popular support not just because it was a Tradition for them to garner sympathy of Nigerians but because we felt it was an aberration for them to request for their demands. But if after a Hundred days of protests, demonstration, rallies and negotiations, we are still at this stage, then it doesn’t look like its going to get better.
The Truth is ASUP is already losing public sympathy because the collateral effect of their strike is so harsh on students.
Contributor: Yakubu,A Public Affairs Analyst writes from Akure, Ondo State.
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