Three months after members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) downed their tools nationwide, over failure of Federal Government to accede to core areas of their 2009 agreement, some of the affected students who are currently on their compulsory Students Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES) have bemoaned the protracted shut-down. On the other hand, some others students who spoke to Quadlife could not care less and seem to be quite content at their SIWES placements.
Uche Ede, a 400-level Petroleum Engineering student of Federal University of Technology, Owerri said he was fully in support of ASUU’s refusal to off the strike despite the pressure from different quarters.
Calling on his affected colleagues across the country to see their stay at home as a sacrifice given towards a better education system for posterity, he said: “Although students have been at home for a long time, I still think we should endure the misery and bear the burden once and for all, most especially for the sake of our unborn children. There is no better time to fight against the decay in our education system than now.” He therefore appealed to the Federal government to meet ASUU demands so that students can go back to school.
Another student Uwa Orji, a 400-level Metallurgical and Materials Engineering student, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State also undergoing his SIWES training dismissed the claims that what ASUU is demanding is too much. He argued that education should be prioritized by Government, noting that no money invested in education is a waste.
His words: “Education should be our number one priority. But it is quite a pity that it is being sidelined by the Federal government for other mundane issues. I don’t mind staying at home for one year provided the standard of our institutions are brought to parity with others in the developed countries. No money invested in education is a waste, so ASUU is justified for whatever amount they are demanding from the federal government. The students accused the ruling class of not paying much attention to the plights of the students at home, because their wards can never be seen in the public varsities.
Lending a voice, Comrade Idongesit Bassey, a 400-level Mechanical Engineering student of University of Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State, also undergoing his Industrial training called on the Federal government to respond to the education sector, as it is the pivot for the development of every other sector.
“We understand that the President is distracted by a lot of national issues. But we should also understand that if the education sector is sidelined, no other sector would survive. It is a shame that we now patronize our neighbouring countries like Ghana, Togo and even Benin republic for quality education. While we are busy priding ourselves as the giant of Africa. I expected the President as a former university lecturer to be in a better position to understand the plights of his former colleagues and tackle the decay in the Education system.”
However, some other students bemoaned the poor standard of learning facilities in their schools, lamenting that they couldn’t do practically most of the things they were taught in school, until they commenced their industrial training.
They attributed this to little or near absence of the necessary equipment for quality learning process in public varsities, arguing that it’s a good justification for the lecturers’ strike action.