Strikes have become a constant theme in Nigeria.
Just last month, the power sector’s staff union called a strike action and shut down the national electric power grid—the strike was suspended a couple of days after. In the education sector, strikes aren’t so short-lived. Students who attend public universities are familiar with nationwide strikes typically led by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
In the 22 years since 1999, universities have gone on strike in all but six years. This is due to dissatisfaction with funding—either for infrastructure rehabilitation, paying salaries, or improving students’ welfare.
The current situation shows that public universities cannot keep relying on the government to plug the funding gap. Alternatives are important to consider, one of which is charging full fees. However, this will exclude students who already struggle to meet the cost of their university education.
Student loans can be of help but is not necessarily a smooth journey. First, someone needs to frontload the upfront cost, and job opportunities must be available after schooling to ensure the viability of this financing model.
Students’ degree tenures are often extended by two to three years because the universities are unhappy with the government—state or federal. For the past 22 years (since 1999), universities have gone on strike in all but six years. In fact, in 2020, what started as a two-week warning spiralled into a nine-month strike—the longest yet. Just this week, reports show that the Federal Government has taken legal action against ASUU as students of Nigerian federal universities have been unable to learn in classes for the past seven months.
The strike tactic has a very long history. The purpose is to take a collective stand when all other methods of resolving grievances have failed—generally a final alternative to getting what you need or want.
In the case of Nigerian public