President Academic Staff of Nigerian Universities (ASUU), Dr Nasir Fagge Isa has lamented that the federal government policy for universities to generate funds internally has converted university professors to animal butchers and hawkers.
He said that ASUU’s struggles were predicated on the belief that the university system is deformed, its driving philosophy is mortally damaged and its established purpose is stillborn.
Fagge lamented that there was a systematic if not a carefully designed agenda to paralyse public university education in order to make way for a market-based privatization of university education adding that Nigeria leadership lacks integrity in governance.
“IGR policy of government has meant a shift of focus to production of bread, pure water, fish sale and sale of meat. Universities are now competing with the same peasant traders they are supposed to serve, some, like the University of Ibadan, close their campuses to goods from outsider and run a close economy while the Department of Economics teach competition and free market. Professors are appointed as butchers, hawkers and supervisors of enterprises that are at the best a waste of time and energy. More important is that scarce manpower are diverted from the classrooms and laboratory in the pursuit of enterprises that are incongruent with University mission.”
The ASUU president spoke at the 63rd University of Ibadan Postgraduate School Interdisciplinary discourse on the topic “ASUU struggles and the Revitilization of Public University Education in Nigeria”
In his welcome address the Dean Postgraduate School, UI, Professor Adeyinka Aderinto hinted that qualitative public education was not negotiable adding that ASUU struggles have helped improved the infrastructural and manpower development in Nigerian Universities adding that the postgraduate programme of the institution attracts over 10,000 applicants yearly.
Professor Aderinto stated that there is a paradigm shift to online application, completion and submission of forms including referees of candidates. As the hub of training university teachers, Aderinto added that certificates of postgraduate students are now collected on the day of convocation as a radical departure from the past adding that external examiners are now paid same any doctoral examination takes place.
Speaking further, Dr Fagge said the leadership quality since Nigeria independence evinces the negative outcomes of the university system saying the irrelevant educational curricula, programs and pedagogy in Nigeria universities have succeeded in producing poor leaders and imitators rather than innovators.
While saying that more than seven panels have been set up by successive administration in Nigeria to evaluate conditions in the public universities, Fagge however noted that failure to implement reports of such panels was due to failure of integrity in governance.
“Contemporary assessment of products of the system characterized them as unemployable and lacking in basic social, emotional and literacy skills. The educational curricula, programmes and pedagogy today are as irrelevant and unrealistic as it was in colonial times. However, we must agree that the system is effective in producing imitators, poor leaders and culturally disconnected individuals.”
Fagge noted that private universities render below par services and engage in unwholesome practices to attract and retain students yet provide only 3 percent access to university education despite Federal government approval of new ones.
“It therefore inheres that the directions of university education presently can only lead to loss of identity, national disintegration, sustenance of dependency economy and a political ideology of dominance and exploitation.”
While recognizing the fact that the 21st century is a knowledge society and that knowledge is the basis of economic growth, successful economies, individuals achievements, ASUU believes that simply narrowing university education to the production of knowledge and accumulation of capital and supporting set of values has led to severe inequalities in global development.
“The careless way in which successive governments handled the declaration of trade dispute by ASUU, Government’s readiness to break agreements freely entered into, its failure to implement its own reports as well as the repetitive nature of the grounds for strike, corroborate the view that the crisis in the university.”