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Parents are Already Involved in the Education of their Children

Parents are already involved in the education of their children: Government must adequately play its roles

ASUU Strike

By
T. Y. Surakat
Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria - Nigeria 

You are free to take a position on this issue. There should be no fence-sitters. However, which parents are you talking about? Parents with stolen money & what's the percentage? Middle-class parents who are outside the corruption ring (if they still exist)? Or the downtrodden, who are in the majority? As for me, I pitch my tent with the majority even though I don't belong to that class. 

I remember my background. I'm proud to say I am the descendant of a farmer turned roadside mechanic who struggled to educate his children through hard work and divine blessings. Today, his children are Professors & professionals, among others. But I enjoyed the State bursary & Akin-Olugbade Scholarship as an undergraduate, throughout my studies. Yes, my parents supported me, but not for tuition, not for books which the scholarship & bursary covered. I ate 3 good, rich meals for 150 Kobo per day. I stayed in a room of 3 in ICSA Hall (1978) but when I became the Hall Secretary, I was alone in a room (1979 - 1981). I was taught by lecturers from different parts of the World. The situation is not the same today because those who enjoyed like me (or even better) are now in power but their priorities have changed. They prioritize selfishness, primitive accumulation of wealth, corruption for short. Education or social welfare is not part of their agenda, and we have started reaping the rewards of the bad showers including (graduate, youth, etc) unemployment, banditry, kidnapping, terrorism, ritual killing, get-rich-quick syndrome, complete loss of values, and all other social vices.

Today, parents who have the means pay for the upkeep of their children & wards (eg for feeding, accommodation, transportation, books, etc). A few can even afford private or foreign universities for their children. But again, what's the percentage of such parents during these hard times? Only 5% of the students population in private universities, many of which rely on lecturers from public universities. Partly as an anti-ASUU measure & mainly for selfish, business reasons, the Federal Government of Obasanjo-Atiku approved private universities and both of them are proprietors today. Many more have since been established but we know their standards compared to public universities. If not for ASUU, public universities would have suffered the same fate as public primary and secondary schools. Instead of funding & expanding existing universities, Federal & State governments are establishing universities as constituency projects without adequate planning, projection & provision for funding, staffing, infrastructure development, etc. They can afford to send their own children to Europe, Asia, America, etc so it doesn't matter whether or not you produce quality graduates. The same selfish people would turn around and say you're producing half-baked, unemployable graduates. 

There are so many issues to raise but I've only managed to address a few in this impromptu release. I am for the majority who have been pauperised by the greedy political class and their gullible followers. In spite of whatever is considered its limitations, my loyalty to ASUU & its struggles remains unshakable. I am convinced that if fees were introduced, many children from poor backgrounds won't have access to tertiary or university education. Someone like me wouldn't have heard the opportunity of becoming a Professor. Like a mentioned earlier, most of the leaders of today benefited tremendously from Federal or State sponsorship but they now have other priorities. Ask yourself what Nigerians are benefiting from the resources with which Nature has blessed this country. Is it good roads, water & electricity, health care, quality education, good governance, ... ? Therefore, the least I expect from any reasonable leader is affordable, liberating and quality education that will promote, propel positive meaningful and sustainable development in all facets. Even the Constitution imposed by the military includes free, qualitative education but the greedy, selfish political leaders later introduced a clause I paraphrase as "when feasible" so as to deny the majority that right to good education. In essence, the struggle MUST CONTINUE. I don't support the principal logic of Prof Saad and his followers

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