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What Hope Is There For The Education Sector?

The news that ASUU is planning a 5 day warning strike got me thinking. The disdain the Nigerian government has seemed to show towards education never ceases to amaze me and just goes to show a real lack of understanding into the role education plays, especially at university level. The sector is so messed up and impoverished with no direction, leadership or serious needed funding. THIS IS VERY SERIOUS. And let me explain why? At the way things are going, we are squandering the potential of our intelligent youths who go through the education system which has a lack of basic facilities and outdated information. Even without loking at things from that prospect of underfunding, many of our universities have lecturers with questionable standings. A friend of mine who was just starting in an institution in Rivers State was telling me when i visited Port Harcourt that one of her lecturers came into the class and boldly told them straight out that if they did not buy his book, they will fail. Apparently, buying the book gets you 50% of the course mark. If you pay him some money (forgotten the ammount), you get another extra 10%. And guess what, the book was completely useless, i read through it briefly and it contained very vague information that a reasonable child could write up so it was no surprise that he wrote it. So by just buying the useless book and the paying some money, you have passed that course? At what point has the knowledge transfer or skill in all of this been achieved? Let us also not forget about those lecturers who insist that for the female students to pass the course, they must sleep with them! Most institutions don't even have adequate measures in place to check these things. I asked her to report the lecturer to the institution about the whole book issue. Apparently that is shooting yourslef in the foot because most cases, he would just get scolded then he would come back to make sure the student who reported him fails. The sad part is that there are some good lecturers (quite a significant number too) in some Nigerian institutions but the reports you hear sometimes is very disheartening. How does this affect Nigeria you may ask? I will tell you how. So at the end of the day we have a lot of people leaving our institutions with degrees, so how do you know if it was due to their ability as students or just simply by buying books and sleeping with lecturers that a student achieved that degree? You have graduates claiming to be engineers, doctors and so on. When they graduate, if they work in Nigeria they become part of the Nigerian work force, they would become part of Nation building. Would you feel confident living in a house that a one handed beggar you just picked of the streets built? Is it any wonder that our country's infrastructure is built mostly by foreigners? The Nigerian government has no confidence in Nigerian graduates (and very understandably so). Now this is the part that is really annoying. They have no confidence because they know the situation on the ground, WHAT HAVE THEY DONE TO FIX IT? If as even the blind leaders of Nigeria aknowledge 'children are our future' then we are destroying our future. ASUU keeps striking and what are they asking for? VERY BASIC THINGS. They keep asking for funding from the government to improve the institutions. Buy some lab equipment, some books, etc. This is what they have been striking mostly about and asking for. I was informed that the last time Ghana had a strike it lasted for well over a year (forgotten how long but it was quite long). They got the message to the government and the sector in ghana was given due attention and since then there has never been a strike in Ghana till today. A lot of people leave Nigeria to go to Ghana because their institutions frankly puts Nigerian ones to shame (hands down). We have students who apply for a 4 year course leaving in like 8 years because of strike and the government continues to ignore this sector. This even affects the economy because we keep paying foreigners a lot to do things that Nigerian graduates should be able to do, i am sure if Yaradua's toilet in aso rock gets blocked he even gets german engineers to fix it. What hope is there for the education sector in Nigeria?

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41 answers

@sky blue

I knw the UK government has been encouraging more university attendance

The Conservative press are the ones I agree with. . . ,

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doyin, the UK government is actually trying to encourage more people to go to University not the other way round as you claim. I completely understand where you are coming from, like i have aknowledged before. But that has nothing to do with this. Not everyone owns a car but does that mean that the roads should not be maintained? Not everyone uses the airport, so i am guessing we should not maintain that either? You say quality education is a sort of luxury. Some medical students go through Nigerian institutions without ever using a microscope, but don't worry, at least they read a lot of books that were written 50 years ago. Is that 'quality education' ? Why do people sometimes suggest that we become miserly with luxuries we don't have in the first place? I don't see how education not being the path for everyone is an excuse for the appalling state of the Universities and education sector in Nigeria. What do you think?

bawomolo, sorry if you got the impression i said education is an automatic ticket to alleviation of poverty. It isn't, but it gives you that opportunity by equipping you with knowledge and skills which can be applied to the real world and be used to alleviate poverty. An example of this might be a Nigerian engineer, who understands the Nigerian market needs and designs a product which is in high deman for a Nigerian market. We have the money to pay attention to this sector so why isn't government investing heavily in such an important sector. bawomolo, again you said that anyone who goes through primary school without being able to read and write is slow. So are you saying everyone that can read and write is educated? Government needs to invest in this and the fact that Katsina state had one of the lowest pass rates in the country under Yaradua's governorship of the state make me even more uneasy. We need to invest in education.

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QUESTION:IS THERE HOPE?

ANSWER: THERE IS HOPE!

REASON: WE ARE THE HOPE WE ARE LOOKING FOR.

QUESTION: ARE YOU ANOTHER OBAMA IN LEKKI?

ANSWER: IF IT CAN HAPPEN ANYWHERE, IT CAN HAPPEN IN NIGERIA.

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Well, if you looked at the grants idea, it is from the private sector and not from the government. There are grants out there to help students with needs. Both local and international programs exist that could help some but not all. However loans, which imply repayment at some time in the future, I would not prescribe for the Nigerian school system now or in the next ten years.

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I am speaking of REALITY in NIGERIA. Would you consider expecting this same nigerian government to come up with a subsidized loan program for students in that country a reasonable expectation??

a comprehensive financial aid program should involve loans and grants. i doubt the nigerian government would be able to afford it anyway since not much money is allocated to education. it would be cheaper to set up vocational or technical schools

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I am speaking of REALITY in NIGERIA. Would you consider expecting this same nigerian government to come up with a subsidized loan program for students in that country a reasonable expectation??

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There are a lot of poor people to put it lightly, and government is meant to cater to the masses.

how does getting a generic degree alleviate the problem of poverty?? most of these people with degree's are probably just going to elope to greener pastures.

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The question is whether too many Nigerians are going to University.With a literacy rate estimated at 57%,how can we claim that there are effectively too many people seeking an education?

not to argue or anything, but anyone who remains illiterate after going through primary and secondary school must be slow. even abraham lincoln learnt how to read and write without going to school. i agree with doyins idea that more technical schools should be formed.

When I spoke of grants, I meant to help students who already have a problem paying the already high cost of attending schools or funding their needs in schools.

what if the grants can't still cover all their expenses. don't they have no choice other than applying for government subsidized loans??

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By analogy,why don't we keep the literacy rate down since few Nigerians are able to get jobs that require literacy?Why build primary and secondary schools when a lot can not find jobs that demand the use of the learned skills?

If you start seeing education,especially University education,as an investment instead of a "luxury" you will see that it pays for itself.

Looking at Nigeria,the North has far fewer University graduates than the South.I am yet to see how this has benefited the North compared to the South.

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Your point depends ultimately on whether there are too many Nigerians seeking or acquiring University education and there is clearly no evidence for that when we take into consideration many factors including a comparative analysis of other countries.

Also,in a situation where many countries have literacy levels of 90%+ with compulsory secondary school education.Add that to the fact that in many of these countries,a further 30%-50% of the populace go on to seek University education.How can one claim that Nigeria where only a minority fraction of the 57% literate population seek University education is producing too many University graduates?

You can't simply lift ideas from the West without taking into consideration the unique local factors applicable to Nigeria.The congestion charge is justifiable in the UK when you take into consideration the actual numbers of cars on the road in the UK.

In London,the problem is not the supply of infrastructure but the demands on it.In Nigeria,the reverse is the case.Where else can you build more roads in London to cope with the increasing number of motorists?

Since when did a University education become a luxury? A university education benefits not just the user but the economy generally.Luxuries by definition have little practical benefits.

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Now more than ever, NIgeria needs MORE EDUCATED PEOPLE,  not less,  Better still MORE HIGHLY EDUCATED PEOPLE. Not less people with higher quality education. NO. The Country needs more more highly educated people. So your luxury theory is light years away from meeting the need of that country as is. We do not have an effective workforce and to get to where we need to be, we need more people in colleges but colleges need to offer them better quality education.

If 1 million people go in and 750 thousand come out on the other side with quality education, that will be to the benefit of the country not to it's detriment.

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doyin, again, the whole idea of a University degree being a luxury means exclusion of even more people. More people who cannot afford it but are very capable. Have you really looked at the Nigerian situation? There are a lot of poor people to put it lightly, and government is meant to cater to the masses. I do understand where you are coming from and i aknowledged that in my earlier post but i don't think that is the issue here.

4 Play, you are quite right that we don't have enough universities to begin with. There are many countries with not up to half the Nigerian population but have 10 times more Universities than Nigeria does. A genuine question though. We have an education ministry and an education minister. What is he doing and what are his plans to address the situation in Nigeria? I hope it won't be a case of having a minister who only sees his job as paying lecturers their salary on time (which they don't even seem to be good at), because there is much more to the Education ministers job than that. But in general, what has Yaradua's government got planned for this sector?

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My main concern is with the University system not with the general literacy rate.

Well guess what. The congestion charge in London does such a thing as advocate people not driving in an exclusive zone.

And I don't knw if you read my posts. . . .I said a liberal University education is wholly different from a rota learning of facts that

obtains in secondary and primary schools. . .In that respect I consider it a luxury or a 'special good/service'

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There is already a rigorous testing system when it comes to admission in to the schools. From the much I have heard of JAMB, I hear there has been great improvement and that is not the problem as we speak. But now, once they are in school, those who are not serious, can easily fail out. In a standard system , not all those who go in come out with degrees so I see no reason why we should deter them from entering if they meet the qualifications needed to do so. That is not the problem at all as we speak.

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Build more Universities. . . .and have them employed where

na wa ooo.

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I think Sky Blue more than Kobo Junkie gets my argument.

I mentioned the importance of rigorous testing in one of my previous posts

Ability will still be the crucial factor in determining who enters the University regardless of means.

They might be a legacy of debt post graduation, but in such a system with the ensuing valued degree

the ability to pay back will be enhanced.

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The idea that the best way to deal with the Nigerian University system's inability to cope is to somehow "discourage" potential graduates from taking up degree programmes is preposterous.

It sort of reminds me of the Zimbabwean who claimed that his country men's starvation to death will help alleviate the food situation since there will be fewer people to feed.

The question is whether too many Nigerians are going to University.With a literacy rate estimated at 57%,how can we claim that there are effectively too many people seeking an education?For a nation and economy of its size,the actual numbers of University graduates in Nigeria are comparatively far smaller than other similar nations.

It is not only the Nigerian University system that is failing to cope with the number of potential users.We haven't got sufficient tarred roads vis-a-vis Nigerian motorists,should we restrict the number of people who can drive?Even at Sec/Primary school levels,we face challenges,why not reduce the amount of people who seek to get an education in the first place?

The Nigerian University system only reflects a greater Nigerian malaise-the abject lack of resources to meet the needs of Nigerians-and the solution is not to discourage and reduce potential users but to work on developing these resources.

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doyin thanks for at least elaborating. If i understand you correctly, you are saying the tuition fees is going to weed out people who are actually serious about a university degree in the first place, from those who are there because there is nothing else for them to do? I see how that can also be important, but i really don't think tuition fees being increased is a good way for achieving that, what you would have instead is a situation where the people who really want an education and are very capable but poor are also punished as well in your proposed scheme. One way of achieving the seperation you speak of is by providing good and viable alternatives and opportunities for those who don't want to necessarily pursue a University education. But again, the universities should not suffer becasue of this, because they are very important on so many levels other than education. And again, Nigeria can afford it. Improving the universiies and developing viable alternatives to it that are still important the workforce are not mutually exclusive concepts.

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What I am saying is many won't be there if not for lack of opportunities elsewhere

And rather than spreading ourselves thin in order to help as many as possible,

we should avoid capsizing the ship and throw some useless hands overboard

Now the system of testing will have to be tighter. . . .

Rather than the grants, student loans are perfect as an incentive to encourage the

academically able to go to school, but enough of a disincentive to weed out those

who are not capable of holding their own in a rigorous academic environment.

Hence you help the poor as well.

And I agree with you SkyBlue that we must spend some of this money, but I would still

carry out this 'environmental excercise'

This I must stress is pertaining to a DEGREE EDUCATION alone.

Monies should also be poured into technical schools, where the specific needs of certain industries will be met.

It cheapens the degree when our graduates are being employed in banks as manual cash counters

A University of Lagos could have an institute that meets this need for example perhaps on a diploma basis

Rather than standardising higher education, stratification should be introduced and those who don't have to spend

five years, their brain stultifying like Alaba Jogogo will be set free.

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doyin, that is a pretty radical stance, government is meant to cater for everyone not the few rich. I have said it again, the resources don't have to be meagre. Have you not seen news? Oil is now selling at just over $100. A record high, and the budget was based on a much lower estimate. Money is there, but is being squandered. The resources don't have to be small in the first place.

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Now I am confused.

So, you are advocating to have the number of students in the system reduced as way to deal with the problem? WOW. I am so glad you are not the president right now. All these people are asking for is better labs, better curriculum that actually gives them information on what they really need and not more handouts that contact information that is completely useless.  What they want is more up to date information be offered them. An environment that actually caters to help them in their struggles, not one that continues to work against them, Is that too much to ask??

Overcrowding is not the problem in most of those schools, infact, many of the classes remain small. I have been to classes with more students in them here than I have in Nigeria. Imagine a hall where over 300 students attend classes at once, three times a week. We have them here. Universities are usually built to cater to large groups of students at a time. Let us get past this idea that Nigeria is overcrowded and that is reason why things are bad or government is not doing it's job. Nigeria has not always have numbers as high as 140 million people, yet the problem has been around, even before the numbers became this high. Come on!!!

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i never said price them out of the education system

price them out of the degree pipeline. . . .

degrees are not for the rota learning of facts. . .there are there for innovative scholarship

the deluge of people into the system turns these universities into secondary schools

A DEGREE IS NOT FOR EVERYONE

SOME FORM OF EDUCATION IS. BUT IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE A DEGREE

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@Kobojunkie

I am not conversant with the level of standards in the University system but if the

comments on this thread are anything to go by, no be beans.

Now. . . .I am actually advocating that students should be priced out of the market.

Are you telling me if these students had a choice they wouldn't head for shores outside this country.

Less students to cater for and the meagre student resources will go round

what we have now is the sustenance of a false economy in University degrees that props up a mirage

Delaying the inevitable. I'd rather we dealt with the problems of job creation sooner

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doyin, i can't think of any country that sees education as the only route to descent employment. Experience is also very important and companies tend to look for experience too. But that is not the issue at hand. Does that really justify the appaling state of our Universities? Not everybody in Nigeria uses the airport but does that mean it should be a disaster? University education is not for everyone, but for those that want to pursue a university degree, it is useful and hence we should have something that passes for a university. Let me tell you my major problem with the situation. How much is it going to cost the Nigerian government to raise the standards of the Universities and improve it? Sometimes you have to spend money to make money and good universities would really have a significant impact on the economy. Do you want me to go into how it would impact the economy? We have all this foreign reserves and what is the point of having it if the country is in ruins? It is like a millonaire living in the gutter and begging for food. It won't cost Nigerian government an arm and a leg to improve the institutions, especially the federal ones. I believe Fashola is already addressing the situation with the state University in lagos a bit. Lagos seems to be the only place right now with a functioning government and no surprise too, it is not a PDP state.

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@Kobojunkie

Not enough I suspect. . . .or else the multitudes still heading for the University turnstiles would be a trickle

I am not one of those of the view that every person should have a University Degree and we should do everything we can to get

them through. . . .Rather than the liberal bent

A University degree should be one of the routes but not the only route to quality employment.

And a university education is a commodity that the holder surely hopes will hold water in different constituencies

so surely the quality and hence the cost will come into it at some point and it will be measured against similar degrees,

Making it so cheap hinders many brilliant chaps and ladies who have to further their education to set themselves apart from the rest.

l

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I totally see what you are saying about Research money not being the answer. I don't believe the schools are actually willing to help the students cause if they were, they would have done quite a lot for them over these years. ASUU on the other hand can maybe start getting students information from day one on grants and money out there from international sources that they could tap into, to help them individually or better still ASUU could organize a program to raise money from international sources or companies to fund it's needs in Nigeria. I am almost certain companies like Chevron, Coca Cola, Pfizer and more would be willing to help if they go after them with zeal. It is a better alternative to striking today and then again tommorow.

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bawamolo, selling more handouts? lol. If the hand outs were actually with useful and genuine content and substance then i might be more convinced, although handouts should come as part of the lecture. I still don't get your research arguement. There has to be something on the ground and that is not what research funds are there for. So what can ASUU do differently? And about that suggestion with fund raisers. LOL. Fundraising in Nigeria at this point? What happened to police equipment fund, or funding by public for OBJs library, those are not the only cases by the way. But Nigerians can't keep paying taxes for services they don't get.

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How much do you think universities in Nigeria should charge for standard education in Nigeria?? Don't you think that the cost should be based on the earning power in that country and not necessarily that of other countries?? Right now the cost is already too high for many of the people to afford still it remains substandard.  If we expect universities in that country to do for ASUU, I say we may have to wait another 20 years more to suffer this.

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I think we should see the advent of student loans in Nigeria. . .

Hence Universities can charge for the full amount of a good education

The government as it stands pays for a substandard education and the Universities provide just that

And considering how much employment there is in Naija. . .i was shocked to find that many blue chip

companies were coming to London and God knws whereelse to recruit for back home. . .

The Universities should be lobbying hard to tailor their services to the obviously specific needs of these institutions

One common trick is to create Institutes within Institutes and establish a stellar reputation for the new institute.

a different class of degree you might say. . .

Cause they sure are damn too many of my peoples heading for University.

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bawomolo i don't think that research fundings are used to build institutions. Research funding is used for just exactly that, research work. The fund is used to buy materials for the research, and all the things that a particular research entails. It can be used to buy research equipment but given that  researches can be about anything, i don't think that has anything to do with this. That arguement might only stand for private institutions and even with that, it is not used to build private institutions. There has to be something on the ground so i don't think research fund has anything to do with this. So you are saying that every single university in Nigeria should get research funding to use to build the roads in institutions, to buy something as basic as micrscopes, to provide security on campus, provide descent rooms that can be passed off as lecture halls, to buy basic equipment that an instituion should have? What i am thinking now is what ASUU can do different? They strike and all the government says is 'go back to work'. Yaradua has not done anything so far and i beginning to think, i can't believe we might be stuck with him. I hope the next four years aren't marked with inaction.

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why is the ASUU always waiting for federal funds. have they heard of something called research funding or private grants. oh wait i forgot nigerians was a first world country for a min. nigerian universities should strive for autonomy rather than waiting for the government to save them.

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After so many years of the same, I will blame ASUU for the many strikes actually. I mean after the 1993 strike that lasted for like forever, one would think ASUU would have learnt that strikes in Nigeria actually hurt the students more than it does the "government". Think of this please with a wise mind, if what you keep doing hurts you more than it hurts those who you want to get their attention, what do you do?? Change strategy I would assume. If you ask graduates and current students of their life in college,you will come off with the picture that ASUU does not necessarily represent the interest of the students anymore. I mean sure funding is needed but strikes have not been able to solve the issue the first 10 times, how would it do the magic now??

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It a very sad situation. How can someone pay through his nose to get a degree and at the end of the day it's rubbish?

A Nigerian in my office told of her experience when she just got here. She has a degree (BSC) in microbiology. She was told that Nigerian university degrees are not seen as degrees here. It's so sad.

ASUU is not helping matters. How can we keep hearing of strikes all the time? I'm so scared for Nigeria. THere can hardly be a atraight academic year without a strike. Education in slowly grinding to a halt.

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i regret ever doing my bsc in this country

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at father ab, if you were the ASUU chairman, would you want your daughters to school in Nigeria if you could afford by some other means to send them abroad? So it is completely understandable and is even a testament to the state of our affairs that even ASUU chairman wants his daughters to get a good education (that is abroad). He is simply being a good parent. People in power go abraod to treat headache but won't fix the health sector, it is just a vicious cycle. There are so many youths without jobs and with nothing to do, and hence no surprise that armed robbery has increased to such an appaling state. Education has the potential to inspire people to be passionate about something, it also has the potential to introduce knowledge to people, knowledge which can be used to lift them out of poverty. I just can't believe the neglect something as important as education has suffered in Nigeria. The neglect has meant that a lot of the good lecturers have left the country to teach abroad. Why you may ask? Because in Nigeria education is not appreciated at all. Lesotho is one of the poorest countries in Africa and University lecturers are among the highest paid people in the country and they are paid more than in Nigeria. I visited Lesotho and the University of Lesotho puts all Universities i have seen in Nigeria to shame (hands down). And this is a country which relies a lot on aid, yet they know the importance of that sector. Compare that to Nigeria?

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Vision 2020 or whatever name they give it is a pipedream if they don't lay the foundation in the educational sector NOW. It's a vibrant middle class that drives any successful economy and that middle class has to be the product of a good home-based educational system. It's not rocket science to fix Nigeria's problems. In fact, a lot of problems can be fixed within a four-year term, starting now. Unfortunately, a lot of Nigerians celebrate things like Yaradua not spending security votes etc. As far as I am concerned, Yaradua hasn't done anything to be celebrated in view of where Nigeria is today. Certain things are commendable for sure, but his adminstration is moving at a snail's pace. It is possible to have a functional and efficient power and educational system within two years, it's not rocket science!

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I dont feel much for Bottom**UU or what are they called? In my days in University, the ASUU chairman brought his daughters to greet his colleage in a lab where I was reading. He told him "they are about to take off to a south african university". Then that man asked them: "why dont you girls school here again?''. Their response: "ASUU is always going on strike!". Who is the ASUU chairman? Their father.

I could not read further since another serious strike was looming then. Could you believe what Prof Aborishade did when he was appointed a minister of education? Prior to that time, he championed strikes from Great Ife. As a minister, he fought ASUU. Most of them will do worse.

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you forgot the most classic excuse . . . we the people are the problem with Nigeria.

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ASUU has been striking for decades, as in over 20 years now. I mean back and forth ASUU has been doing the very same, and so far, no lasting solution yet. I do not think this makes us stronger. If anything, it should be a sign to those in ASUU now that the best way may be to find alternative ways to get needed funding. ASUU should know it's power and it's problems and design solutions around them. Another strike is not necessarily going to solve anything. The Students in the end may loose again as they have continued to for decades now. There has to be a way for them to get funding from the private sector instead of continuing to wait hopelessly for the government.

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One thing we shud note that ASUU will not wake one day and say all they want is to stay home and rest, but all this probs fall on our bad leaders,

1. the probs of an average nigerian is not theirs.

2. Their Children will not skool in Nigeria, and if they were to skool here, they go to private university.

3. If these leaders are sick they are flown abroad for treatment

4. they are hardly held by traffic (siren and convoy paved way for them, thats if they are not on private jet)

@ Sky Blue

These Strikes is one of the factors that aid our strong nature as Sons and Daughters of PAPORORO, which makes us faces challenges any time and day,

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Oh Don't worry. You will soon get people posting things like. " It takes time to change things in Nigeria" Or " Change is happening even though we may not see it for the next 20 years". LMAO!!!!

I love the tweedle dee-tweedle dum crowd we have in here. LMAO!!! Someone's going to come in to challenge what you said about Yaradua and maybe tell you that Nigeria's problem is too complicated for him to maybe resolve in a matter of months. Most all ASUU has required for about 20 years now is funding but no, this problem can not be solved in a month or two, it will take another 20 years to solve it, they might say. LMAO!!!

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