The ongoing nationwide strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) will encourage the government to review its strategy on commercialising education and starving public universities of funds.
It is to ensure quality education for the children of the poor, who cannot afford the exorbitant fees paid in private universities or do not have opportunities to study outside Nigeria.
This is according to the Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma chapter of the union.
The chapter expressed these views in a statement titled, ‘The Survival of Public Universities in Nigeria and the Desirability of the Ongoing Nationwide Strike,’ signed by its chairperson, Dr. Monday Igbafen.
The union, while justifying the prolonged strike, insisted that it was the only avenue to make the government respond to the plight of the citizens.
ASUU had embarked on an indefinite strike on March 23, 2020.
Igbafen, who called on Nigerians, especially parents, to bear with the union as no good thing comes without pain, said the government must be adequately confronted for its plan to raise the cost of education beyond the reach of the poor majority of Nigerians.
The union leader, also tasked all stakeholders in the education sector, especially students and parents, on the need to join what it described as a “patriotic struggle” to defend the adequate funding of education in the country.
He further described the ongoing strike as a veritable means to bring about quality education to the country.
Part of the statement read: “Nigerians should bear with us. ASUU is fighting the people’s battle. Our union is struggling to ensure that the children of the poor, who cannot afford the prohibitive cost paid in private universities or do not have opportunities to study outside Nigeria, get quality education which is now priced beyond their reach.
“This will only happen when the government adequately funds public universities and addresses the rot and decay in them.”
The union also accused some government leaders of gross insensitivity to the sad realities in public universities because their children were not in Nigerian universities.
“This is responsible for the obvious lack of committed interest and concern of the government to the earnest resolution of the issues which led to the ongoing strike,” the statement added.