The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has warned that the incessant strikes by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) were having negative impact on businesses in Nigeria.
The director-general of NECA, Mr. Timothy Olawale, while highlighting the implications of the strike on businesses and national development, noted that businesses were managed by people and human capital was a critical factor for the success of any business.
Though he commended the Federal Government’s recent resolution of the ASUU strike, he expressed worries over the recurrent ASUU strike, which he said has become an annual tradition.
He said that human capital without the necessary competencies puts the future of Nigerian businesses in a very delicate situation.
He said, “Our touted dysfunctional educational system has been adjudged as the reason why we see expatriates coming to take up jobs that should ordinarily be taken up by our graduates. Scarce foreign exchange that should have been deployed to businesses are now being competed for by students in foreign institutions. The talk of national development will be mere lip service if we don’t address the rot in our educational system”.
The NECA boss said the news of the end of the strike, which lasted three months, came as a relief and commended ASUU and the Federal Government for going through the process of arriving at an agreement.
He said, “We believe this was done in the interest of students and the nation at large. Though the calling off of the strike is commendable, we are deeply concerned about how the ‘annual’ strike continues to be a recurrent issue in our educational system. It has become almost impossible for students in tertiary institutions to have one session at a stretch without interruption.
“The three months’ strike has further cemented the perception of the Nigerian student as being unemployable due to the ceaseless interruptions of their academic activities.
“In the Human Development Index (HDI) ranking, Nigeria sits in a pitiable 157th position of the 189 countries assessed in 2017. If we are desirous of improving our HDI ranking, we cannot continue to treat our education system with disdain. Our focus now should be on ensuring our students learn without any interruption and as a matter of urgency, commence an overall reform of our educational system?”
Olawale urged federal government and ASUU to ensure that the last strike should be the last of its kind.
He said, “All hands must be on deck to ensure there is no interruption whatsoever again in our education system. Government should respect and honour agreements reached. ASUU on the other hand should endeavor to re-invent itself, such that industries can have the necessary competent and focused human capital needed to make businesses thrive.”