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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid