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

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid