News / Africa

Nigeria Technical Schools Vow to Continue Strike

TEXT SIZE - +
Heather Murdock
— After six months on strike, Nigerian universities are re-opening.  But technical school teachers remain defiant, saying they will not go back to work until their demands for higher pay and better facilities are met.  Strike leaders say millions of young people are out of school and the government has abandoned students seeking practical skills that would improve the quality of the national workforce. 
 
Technical schools are where students go to learn practical skills, like fixing cars, building roads or managing offices.  

Chibuzo Asomugha heads Nigeria’s union of teachers for technical schools, which he said are literally falling apart.  “It is really scandalous.  That is how I would put it.  The position of our polytechnics is really scandalous and the government must pay attention before the system dies completely," he explained. "That is our warning.”
 
The Kaduna state chair of the union, Mustapha Yahaya Bidda, said technical skills do not just help individual students find jobs.  He says improving the quality of the work force ultimately could help develop the economy and drag Nigeria out of poverty.
 
Instead, he said, the schools are underfunded with equipment as old as 50 years. “The polytechnics are really languishing seriously.  The laboratories in terrible condition," stated Bidda. "The workshops are in very bad shape.”
 
The strike for better facilities and a pay increase began in late April, but was suspended for nine weeks to give the government a chance to respond to the teachers' demands, Bidda said.  Nothing was done, he adds, and the teachers walked out again in early October.  
 
In contrast, Nigerian university teachers ended a six-month strike in December after the government promised to invest billions of dollars into the university infrastructure.
 
A student at Kaduna Polytechnic in northern Nigeria, Mohammad Abdullah, has been at home for months, waiting for classes to resume.  He said universities have been promised funding because, in general, they cater to more wealthy families. The children of those that are in power are not with here in the school.  That is why they have neglected us,” he stated.
 
Abdullah supports the strike, despite the interruption in his education.  But some parents blame the teachers for the strike, not the government.  
 
Walter Uba has three children enrolled in technical schools.  He said allegations there has been no response to strikers’ demands are false, and that leaving young people un-occupied and unemployable could lead to a rise in crime.  “They are just there.  They are just there.  And this could lead people into vices.  They could lead children into vices.  They are just there doing nothing,” he said.

Officials said the government is working to meet the union’s demands and nearly all have been met.  But some teachers said if that were true, they would already be back at work.   


Ibrahima Yakubu contributed to this report from Kaduna.

You May Like

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid