The first Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE), Peter Lassa, has blamed frequent strikes by lecturers for pushing many Nigerians to study in inferior universities abroad.
Speaking in Jos, Lassa, a one-time Deputy Vice Chancellor of University of Jos, told reporters that many Nigerians patronised universities in neighbouring African countries not because of their superior academic programmes, but for stable academic calendar.
He noted that the incessant strikes had affected teaching and learning while resulting in falling standard of education in the country.
The don lamented that students had been denied the opportunity to graduate as and when due, owing to unnecessary delays occasioned by frequent industrial action. “Frequent strikes have affected teaching and learning and, as a result, we are seeing falling standard of graduating students from the universities.
“Strike often forces teachers to condense the time table of courses and rush the students to examination.
“When curriculum says three credit courses require three hours lectures spread over a week for students to assimilate, but a lecturer condenses a lecture which then leads to half-baked students.
“Today, students in Nigerian universities hardly know when they will graduate and some of these uncertainties make many students prefer universities in neighbouring African countries.
“This is not because of the superiority of their academic programmes, but the stability of their academic calendar. These students go abroad because our universities have failed to meet their aspirations,” Lassa said.
He further decried the psychological effect of the strikes on students, adding that the consequences usually faced by students and their parents were enormous.
He also said strikes by lecturers often led to huge economic loss, as bills for services provided were still being paid by government without being adequately utilised.
“During strikes, universities are shut down; the staff demand that they are paid salaries. During the several months they are on strike, the universities still run and pay for services, such as power, water, security and also take care of buildings.
“One month strike by a public university is estimated to be a huge loss amounting to billions. This is really not good for us.
He called on the ASUU and government to seek other alternatives of resolving disputes.