News / Africa

Nigeria University Students Resume Classes After Strike

FILE - Students and workers carry placards as they march on the Lagos-Ikorodu highway to protest against the suspension of academic activities following a nation-wide strike embarked by lecturers in state-owned universities in Lagos.
FILE - Students and workers carry placards as they march on the Lagos-Ikorodu highway to protest against the suspension of academic activities following a nation-wide strike embarked by lecturers in state-owned universities in Lagos.
Anne Look
Public universities ain Nigeria are resuming classes this week after a nearly six-month teacher strike. 

Here at Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University in Bauchi, history lecturer Maimuna Sadiq tries to pick up where she left off in June. "We had treated three topics. You mean, you can't remember?  So you mean you were not reading?" said Balewa.

Students at public universities around the country told VOA they feel a mix of relief and stress to be back.  "I am excited, apprehensive," one student stated. "You know, exams is next month so we have a lot of things to do.  My project work is not completed.  I have a lot to do." Another student added, "We have to rush the semester to end it early so that we start our next section early.  Even today, Saturday, we had a lecture and also a test at the same time in order to make up the time that we spent on the strike."

Lecturers told VOA it is the students who lose in this scramble to make up for lost time.  Repeated strikes can add months, even years, to the time it gets to get a degree.

Most say "let us wait and see" what the results of the extended strike may be.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities, known by its acronym ASUU, suspended the strike in December.

The government has agreed to invest billions of dollars annually in university infrastructure during the next five years. The government has also pledged to gradually devote one-quarter of the nation's budget to the education sector.

There are also provisions related to staff, like working conditions and payment of allowances for those in administrative positions.

But lecturers, like Laz Emetike of Delta State University, said the strike was really about pushing the government to make Nigeria's universities better. "You can not churn out half-bit graduates. You do it to the detriment of the development of that country.  Consequently if there is improvement in the infrastructure, [if] there are good laboratories and so on, then we compete favorably with other parts of the world," Emetike said. "It's for the benefit of all, not a benefit of lecturers only."

Countries throughout the region, not just Nigeria, are reflecting on how to accommodate exploding demand for university admission, while also improving academic standards and paying teachers enough to keep them.

Experts told VOA that Nigeria can not afford to not address this.  Hundreds of thousands who pass the college entrance exams each year already can not enroll in public universities because there is not room.  Those lists are only going to get longer.  Nigeria's population is expected to double by mid-century.

University lecturers said they will be watching to make sure their institutions get, and effectively use, the funding the government has promised.  

But for the time being, the nation's halls of learning are once again filled with students and that is a good thing.   

Ardor Hazzad contributed reporting from Bauchi, Nigeria, Ibrahima Yakubu contributed from Kaduna, Nigeria, Hilary Uguru contributed from Warri, Nigeria.

You May Like

Video Iran Nuclear Deal Becomes US Campaign Issue

Voters in three crucial battleground states - Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania - overwhelmingly oppose nuclear deal with Iran More

With IS in Coalition Cross-Hairs, al-Qaida's Syria Affiliate Reemerges

Jabhat al-Nusra has rebounded, increasingly casting itself as a critical player in battle for Syria’s future More

Lessons Learned From Katrina, 10 Years Later

FEMA chief Craig Fugate says key changes include better preparation, improved coordination among state, federal assistance agencies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs