Students in Nigeria’s Colleges of Education lament lecturers strike

Image by: ALAN EASON / ©Daily Dispatch

Some students lament that they are considered “dullards” by Nigerian standards.

Some students have lamented the ongoing nationwide strike by the Collages of Education Academic Staff Union, COEASU, calling for an end to it.

College lecturers, COEASU, have been on a nationwide strike since December 18, 2013. The lecturers are demanding for the proper strengthening and development of the colleges of education in Nigeria.

A first year student of the Collage of Education, Zuba, Abuja, Ogho Joy, who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES, asked the Federal Government to take collages of education more seriously.

“I cannot even say correctly that this is what the government is doing about the on-going strike. To most of us, it’s more like the government has abandoned us. I believe government does not see colleges of education as an important sector because I can’t say the government has said anything promising about the strike,” she said. “What COEASU is demanding is for the benefit of the schools and not for the interest of the lecturers; so Federal Government should look into it and attend to our needs so we can get back to school.”

Ms. Ogho said pending the resumption of her school, she had taken to working in a salon.

“In order not to be idle – as the saying goes, ‘An idle mind is the devil’s workshop’, I decided to go and learn how to make hair in a salon so I can make ends meet. I’m training myself in school. My parents are dead. In fact, (working in a salon) will help me. By the time Federal Government decides to answer the lecturers’ demands, I would have learnt enough to make students’ hair and get more money,” she said.

A second year student at the same school, Alice Samaja, said Federal Government had not only abandoned collages of education but had made the students seem less important in the society.

“I have always loved to be a teacher, that’s the reason I’m in the college of education; so I can acquire the necessary skills and impact to coming generations. I’m not there because I can’t pass the Joint Admission and Matriculation Exams, JAMB, or because I’m dull,” she explained.

She narrated how once she was discussing with her friends about how the Federal Government had handled the 2013 strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU.

“Just in the middle of our discussion, I said to them how I wish the Federal government would equally resolve the COEASU strike so we can all go back to school. That was when one of them asked why the Federal Government should do that; after all, colleges of education are for the “olodos” (dullards) who can’t pass JAMB or make it through the University. He even went as far as saying that he was sure the Federal Government had realised that we are just dullards at the colleges of education that’s why it had refused to sink money into the schools,” she said.

She added that though her friend’s statements really hurt her she thought they were justifiable and did not hold them against him.

“It’s all the Federal Government’s fault. Colleges of Education in Nigeria are not as many as universities so they should not be too much to handle for the Federal Government. They should please come to our rescue,” Ms. Samaja pleaded.

She lamented that the strike had affected her psychologically as she often spent her days indoors, doing nothing meaningful.

Haruna Mohammed, a third year student of the Federal College of Education, Pankshin, Plateau State also complained about the strike.

“It’s already a clear fact that the government is not taking the education system in Nigeria seriously. The almighty ASUU had to go on a six month strike before the Federal Government attended to their needs. I call them almighty because here in Nigerian if you have not gone to University, you have not gone to school. In fact, you don’t know anything by going to polytechnic or colleges of education.

“Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, ASUP, is currently on strike, which is about five months old now and then COEASU has been on a three month old strike. Every sector in Nigeria should go on strike since it’s the only language government understands. Is it not a shame that there are strikes within the Education sector?” he asked.
He, however, added that he had no plans to look for a holiday job since he lived in Jos. “I’m sure the crisis in Jos is no news to you. So, I’m chilling in my house, doing nothing, thanks to our Federal Government.”

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