The Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike Chapter, Uzochukwu Onyebinama, has said that industrial actions by university teachers is meant to draw attention to the decadence in the system.
Mr. Onyebinama said in Umuahia that the union was not insensitive to the plight of the students.
The don said the agitations had always bothered on funding of universities by the Federal Government and to create the enabling environment for teaching and learning. He said the universities were grossly underfunded, leading to lack of basic infrastructure, teaching materials and educational facilities.
He noted that it was due to ASUU’s concern for students that the union embarked on strikes to ensure improvement in teaching and learning facilities.
“You will weep if you see the condition under which the students study,’’ he said, adding that students’ hostels, laboratories and lecture halls were in terrible conditions in the country.
Mr. Onyebinama said a needs-assessment study of universities carried out by the government showed a complete breakdown of facilities in all universities in Nigeria. He described strike as the last resort by the union to press for the implementation of the 2009 ASUU/Federal Government memorandum of understanding on the funding of universities.
He regretted that the failure of the government to implement the agreement showed that it did not take education as a priority.
“If it sees education as its priority, it should quickly address the problem of inadequate funding of the universities,’’ he said.
He appealed to the Federal Government to be more sensitive to issues concerning education in the country to avert future disruptions in the academic calendar.
ASUU had last Monday declared a nationwide strike involving all federal and state universities to demand the full implementation of the agreement.