The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) recently called off its eight-month protracted strike but some parents, public commentators and others have expressed anxiety over the students’ long stay at home, noting that the strike had disrupted academic arrangements and impacted on the students negatively.
Professor Godwin Jireh, a theologian, parent and public affairs commentator, lamented that it was unfortunate that the Federal Government allowed the industrial action to last for eight months.
He said the Federal Government did not seem sensitive about the future of university education in the nation and the plights of students, the nation’s future leaders.
Professor Jireh, an apostle and rector of All Nations Christian Institute, said: “Aside from increasing the exodus of the best brains from the universities, this protracted strike has led to a sharp peak in street violence, youthful fraudulent acts, and other crimes such as gambling, cyber-crime and immorality.
“Edward James Olmos knew well what he meant when he said, ‘Education is the vaccine of violence’.
“In fact, the ASUU strike has a great deal of impact on the lives of the affected students. Yes, calling the strike off brings some relief. But, it does not guarantee that the students will not lose one academic session.
“Yet, the reality is that the whole situation makes education less interesting and sets students in a tight corner when classes resume.
“There is every likelihood that upon resumption, lecturers are bound to rush academic work which might mean skipping important parts of the course work.
“Eventually, this will have an adverse effect on the intellectual capacity of the student and the quality of graduates produced by our tertiary institutions. But all these could be avoided when the government is proactive, responsible and responsive.”
Comrade Aluh Moses Odeh, the national leader of All Middle Belt Youth Forum (AMBYF), maintained that the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government does not value education.
He said the government did not know that its pride was hinged on the quality and output of a good educational system.
“The psychological trauma orchestrated by the over eight months strike will be overcome by the students if they have the mind that Nigeria is nation for the survival of the fittest and they should also see no reason to regret as the industrial action was beyond their control.
“Lecturers will make up for the wasted period but the quality is of great concern because they acted in obedience to the decisions of the Appeal Court not willingly as the reason for down tool for not achieved.”
Also, Dr. Rexkennedy Saltlove, a public affairs analyst/activist and president/executive director of Citizens Rights and Empowerment Advocacy Initiative (CREMA Initiative), stated: “The recent ASUU strike that lasted eight months is one too much.
“Its tolls on the students, society and the socio-economic and psychological impact is one that cannot be quantified.
“To start proffering solution on covering lost grounds, psychologically and academically, we have to diagnose what are or were lost and see how possible it will be to recovered without trying to cast a gloomy look and been pessimistic
“Between March 2020 and now, students have lost 17 months, which is equal to over four semesters and two academic years due to industrial actions (ASUU strikes)
“These strikes cause students to spend longer time to graduate, which affect planning and readjustment in goal setting as per expected time of graduation.
“The down side of this is the psychological impact that may lead to depression and loss of interest in students’ desire to study as the mental alertness and peak state of the students during classes should have been dulled which could lead to frustration.”
On his part, Hon. Charles Anike, the national president of Eastern Union (EU), said: “Well for me, I don’t think we should be talking of recovering any loss because the losses are frightening. What are the students going to recover?
“Academically, they have lost one academic year and there is no way they can recover that. Those who are supposed to graduate this year have missed it and there is no way they can graduate this year any more.
“The ones that supposed to move to the next class this year cannot. And I can tell you that it is very frustrating. This is the extent and how the insensitivity of the APC-led Federal Government has degenerated in governance.”