It is unfortunate that all this time students spent at home while their education was brought to standstill, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and federal government are insensitive to their situation. It is obvious that the federal government deems the education of its citizens as valueless as sewage.
How insensitive was ASUU too, to have said Universities are not safe for reopening after giving students the hope of resumption by January 18. If primary and secondary schools could reopen a few months back and conclude a term without a single case of Covid-19, where is more fit and safe to reopen than universities? Meanwhile, ASUU took almost a year clamouring for improved education, and remuneration for its members but it failed to demand provisions necessary to check the spread of the dreaded Covid-19 in our universities. Perhaps, they were overwhelmed by the billions of naira released to them by the federal government.
Was it not reported that the World Health Organisation (WHO) said the coronavirus might never go away and populations would have to learn to live with it just as they had with HIV?
Our markets are safe, our houses are safe, our religious centres are safe, other events centres are safe but our universities are not. This is not just laughable but absurd. Why is our education relegated to worthless rank? Public university students spent almost a year at home as a result of the tussle between ASUU and the federal government, a year gone waste and period of obtaining a degree elongated, and no compensation for that.
Furthermore, the stance of ASUU on safe reopening of universities is evidently paradoxical to the struggle they claimed is for students. If, truly, ASUU is fighting for students and not selfish interest, the issue of safe reopening ought to have been treated with utmost priority ab initio when they were busy contemplating the suspension of the industrial action not after they have told the world that the strike is no more and after having fixed date resumption. This is nothing short of a child’s play.
Similarly, if the federal government is concerned with students’ safety and not playing its dirty game of politics with their education, it ought to have put all safety measures in place before fixing the date for the school resumption.
I think every student in a tertiary institution is an adult, and old enough to adhere to Covid-19 safety protocols.
If the coronavirus pandemic has come to stay, we must not run away from it by sacrificing our education. It is sad that at the receiving end of all this hullabaloo are the students. 2020 was sacrificed, 2021 must not be!
Faculty of Law,
Bauchi State University, Gadau