The strike by lecturers at Nigeria’s public universities is now in its fourth month and the dons are adamant that their industrial action will go on until their demands are met. The lecturers went on strike on 1 July 2013.
Numerous meetings between officials of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (AASU) and the government have failed to resolve the impasse.
The bone of contention is government failure to implement a 2009 agreement, which again was restated in a Memorandum of Understanding signed with AASU on 24 January 2012. The lecturer’s demands for better conditions of work and facilities for students are also reflected in the Report of Government’s Committee on Needs Assessment on Nigerian (Public ) Universities (CNANU) of July, 2012.
Under the 2009 agreement, the funding requirement provides that all federal universities would require a total sum of N1.5 trillion spread over three years (2009 – 2011) to address the rot and decay in the universities.
But in a strange twist, the government declared that it would not implement the agreed massive injection of funds to revitalise public universities.
“In effect, Government appears to have repudiated the 2009 Agreement, the MoU and its own Needs Assessment Report,” according to AASU president Dr Nasir Isa Fagge.
“What has emerged is that Government never intended to implement the provisions of any of these important documents; while publicly and privately encouraging ASUU and the country to trust it and to believe that, for once, it was determined to address the decay and rot in the universities, its true intention all along was to take the country and ASUU for a costly ride.”
According to the National Universities Commission, Nigeria has 78 public universities (40 federal and 39 state). The latest pictures published by AASU best capture the derelict condition of facilities at the public institutions (See http://asuung.org/test/OctNewsletter.pdf)
PROFILE OF ROT
Nasir El-Rufai, former Minister of Federal Capital Territory, has compiled the following statistical information to illustrate the dire state of public institutions of higher learning in Nigeria in the 21st century:
1. Less than 10% of the universities have video conferencing facility.
2. Less than 20% of the universities use interactive boards
3. More than 50% don’t use Public Address System in their lecture OVERCROWDED rooms/theatres.
4. Internet services are non-existent or epileptic and slow IN 99% of Nigerian universities.
5. Nigerian universities’ library resources are outdated and manually operated. Bookshelves are homes to rats/cockroaches.
6. No university library in Nigeria is fully automated. Less than 35% are partially automated.
7. Of 701 development projects in Nigerian universities 163 (23.3%) are abandoned 538 (76.7%) are PERPETUALLY on-going.
8. Some of the abandoned projects in Nigerian universities are over 15 years old, some are over 40 years old.
9. 76% of Nigerian universities use wells as sources of water, 45% use pit latrines, and 67% of students use the bush as toilet.
10. 77% of Nigerian universities can be classified as “Glorified Primary Schools”. Laboratories are non-existent.
11. 80% of Nigerian universities are grossly under-staffed. 78% of Nigerian universities rely heavily on part-time and visiting lecturers. 88% of Nigerian universities have under-qualified academics.
12. 90% of Nigerian universities are bottom-heavy (with junior lecturers forming large chunk of the workforce).
13. Only 2% of Nigerian universities attract expatriate lecturers; over 80% of Ghanaian universities attract the same.
14. 89% of Nigerian universities have ‘closed’ (homogeneous) staff – in terms of ethno-cultural background.
15. Based on the available data, there are 37,504 academics in Nigerian public universities. 83% of them are male while 17% are female.
16. 23,030 (61.0%) of the lecturers are employed in Federal universities while 14,474 (39.0%) teach in State Universities.
17. The teaching staff-students ratio is EMBARRASSINGLY very high in many universities: At National Open University of Nigeria 1:363; University of Abuja 1:122; Lagos State University 1:111. (Compare that with Harvard 1:4; MIT 1:9; Yale 1:4, Cambridge 1:3).
18. Only about 43% of lecturers have PhDs. The remaining 57% do not. Only 7 Nigerian Universities have up to 60% of their teaching staff with P
hD qualifications. There are universities in Nigeria where the total number of professors is not more than five.
19. Nigerian university medical students are trained in the most dangerous environment, some only see medical tools in books
20. 700 ex-militants in Nigeria are receiving more funds annually than 20 universities under ‘amnesty’ scam.
21. 80% of published journals by Nigerian university lecturers have no visibility in the international knowledge community.
22. More expenditure is incurred in administration and routine functions than in core academic matters in Nigerian Universities
23. Except for Nigerian Defence Academy Kaduna, no university in Nigeria is able to accommodate more than 35% of its students.
24. Nigerian university students sit on bare floors or peep through windows to attend lectures. Over 1,000 students are packed in lecture halls meant for less than 150.
25. University administrators spend millions to erect super-gates when their libraries are still at foundation level; spend millions to purchase exotic vehicles for university officers even though they lack basic classroom furnishings.