Why ASUU is always on strike

Before going straight to the point of discussion, let me briefly explain what I experienced as a public servant for the sake of clarification on further reference in the future.

Ideally, a non teaching staff is not expected to be undergoing a research, because mostly their schedule of duties didn’t require such and besides HND and BSc are the highest academic certificate that will qualify them to reach a peak.
Being a non teaching staff, I had the privilege of securing invitations to attend a various conferences, some are international while some are local, and the most exciting part of it is that, all the invitations that I’ve gotten, I made up my mind to present a paper if I’m opportune to attend the conference, because my belief was that, going there will boost my intelligence quotient even though with or without the paper conference I’ll reach the last bus stop. Sadly, I couldn’t meet up. When I consulted my senior colleagues, I was told that there is no grant for such, therefore I’m on my own, though one may ask what’s the essence of salary, why can’t I use it attend the conference.

Notwithstanding that there’s no official burden attached to the salary, nonetheless, the salary wouldn’t cope the conference fees and the day to day activities.Moreover, we shouldn’t forget that the major reason I made up my mind to attend the conference is for the future uses, because as someone who is passionate in joining the academia in the future, it’s mandatory for me to have additional academic qualifications and paper conference else I’ll be stagnated, this is how I missed all the conferences.

If the salary range is okay or there’s a grant for such conferences, then nothing will stop me from sorting out my issues, but sadly it is not.
It could be recalled that the conflict between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the federal government started late 2009. Since then the situation has continued to deteriorate, because the body has gone on strike countless number of times. The genesis of the strike was as a result of the federal government’s failure to fulfill some of the body’s basic demands,precisely, minimum wage arrears, among many others and subsequently the issue of IPPIS.

Unlike a non teaching staff in an academic institution, a university lecturer such as a graduate assistant’s start-up salary is not up to N100,000 and he or she must possess a bachelor’s degree (BSc) before he’ll be employed as a graduate assistant, and his promotion to the assistant lecturer will come after three years.

Furthermore, a graduate assistant wouldn’t be promoted until he obtains a masters degree, perhaps plus a paper conference. Meanwhile, immediately after he being employed, he/she must enroll for an MSc programme. The most annoying thing is that only few or those with higher connection at the top would be able to get Tetfund sponsorship, if you are not lucky you’ll be left out, and failure to bring additional academic qualification will lead to a promotion delay.

Now, with a scanty salary, how could we expect a graduate assistant to obtain MSc in thre years. If care is not taken he’ll end up taking a bank loan or from his cooperative, and it’s a continues routine, every promotion comes with a specific tasks attached to it, and we all know that “more money, more problem”.

Statistics shows that every year, the number of the number of students enrolled into the universities keeps increasing, same with the price of commodities and personal issues. Unfortunately, the salary range is not increasing reasonably. A lecturer can spend a whole day trying to help the communities, but eventually his efforts would go in vain.

More so, mostly, academic staff are fighting not for their interest rather than the survival of the education sector, and most of them can teach in the private universities that we’ve in the country, but they choose to render community service.

Until now, I was among those blaming ASUU over its incessant strike actions. But now I’ve understood that they are doing it for the betterment of the education system and the general public at a whole. And also now I’ve changed my mind from going to the academia officially, I will obtain the additional academic certificates and go ahead with my research but not for the sake of changing cadre. I’ll just do it for my personal and perhaps societal benefits.

Abubakar Muhammad Sani,Kaduna[email protected]