Walking down the stairs of the New Lecture Theatre which is popularly called 500 capacity hall in the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, I felt down-casted and pondered on my performance on my just concluded Engineering Thermodynamics (ENG 209).
I walked into that hall about an hour ago looking vibrant and confident, rearing to go, gingered to overcome the hurdle of two infamous lecturers that had handled that course. I answered onlyone question out of four. I resolved to asking, neck-stretching and eye focusing. Yet I know I was below par.
The exam was drawing near and I began to shiver knowing I had a lot to cover before the first semester exams. Then came the savior: STRIKE. ASUU STRIKE.
The announcement of the strike was received with mixed feelings but the continuity of no school activity after 2 weeks meant we had to leave school environment. Home I went but not empty handed. I bought, for the first time in FUTO, a past question. You can guess the course: ENG 209. My experience with Thermo made me prepare for the computer course CSC 201 by purchasing its pass question as well.
The strike lasted for about two months and the students returned to continue their education. 2 weeks after the resumption of activities, the first semester examination began. This was the year 2007 for 2006/2007 academic session.
Why am I relating this story? Recently the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) have embarked on an indefinite strike following issues with the Federal Government. Their Polytechnic counterpart (ASUP) has since begun theirs a month earlier.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has embarked on an indefinite strike following the failure of the federal government to implement part of the 2009 agreement reached by the two parties.
The union’s demands include the upward review of the retirement age for professors from 65 to 70; adequate funding to revitalise the university system; progressive increase of budgetary allocations to the education sector by 26 per cent; transfer of federal government property to universities; setting up of research and development units by companies; payment of earned allowances; and renegotiation of the signed agreement. – Thisday 2nd July, 2013
Why this is widely seen as a disaster to the education of so many young Nigerians and a disgrace to the nation, there might be a degree of positivity in this recently announced ASUU strike, especially for the students themselves.
I benefitted from that strike in 2007 because it gave me time to read intensively ENG 209 and CSC 201. I read and answered all questions in the past questions I bought. I reworked every question thrice and above. I read from kpali to kpali. It reflected in my result. I got A’s in those two courses.
So what benefit can Nigerian youths get from this shut-down of the higher educational system?
- A time to read up, cover up and read ahead of syllabus for the semester.
- A time to intensify research and projects, especially for final year students
- A time to seek little experience in non-formal education and work
- An additional time for those looking for internship to get one
- An extra time to learn more and extend internship period with firms
- A time to relax from the routine schedule of the higher institution
- A time to plan for the coming semester
- A time to travel and go for excursion
- A time to be with relations and loved ones
- A time to add value to yourself other than lecture room values
- A time to explore other options
- A time for trial and error
- A time to re-evaluate your objectives and goals
- A time to seek God’s face
- A time that would never be again…..
There are a lot of things that you can do now. Don’t just sit there in your sofa and heap blame form morning to evening on the federal government or the academic staff union. Do something meaningful and add value to yourself.
You may never know how much time you have lost until it is too late. You won’t know how important this time is as regards your life until it has passed. I wouldn’t like you to say “had I known”.
Stop. Plan. Use this time very well and you would excel greater than you expect.
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