The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Enugu State University of Science and Technology, ESUT chapter,has blamed government’s poor funding of the educational system, for the falling standards in the sector.

Members of the Union have been on strike for over six weeks, as they continue to protest against the non-implementation of the 2009 ASUU/FG agreement, which borderson the improved funding of universities and other issues.

“The present ASUU strike is beyond salaries and allowances for lecturers. Since the 2009 agreement,government has set up fact-finding missions to ascertain the state of Nigerian universities. Panels of inquiries for need assessment for universities have been setup and reports have been submitted, yet the authorities in the education sector seen to have shunned implementation of the recommendations.

“The Needs Assessment Committee went round the universities in the country and what it found was shocking,”

Mr. Uche Omeje, the Acting chairperson of ASUU in ESUT told a news conference.

“First, it found that the teachers-students ratio was 1-400 on the average instead of being 1-40. It found that the classrooms were grossly inadequate and could accommodate only about 30 percent of the number of students that needed to enter those classrooms, and while most students were standing in their lecture theatres other students write on their backs as lectures were held under trees in some of the universities.”

Omeje then went on to cite cases, where some university laboratories used kerosene stoves instead of Bunsen burnersfor experiments and othersub-standard procedures.

He said: “The committee found chemistry labs without water; they found people doing examinations called theory of practical and not the practical. They found students living in the hostels without functional toilets and conveniences. They foundheaps of human feaces in the classrooms where our future leaders are produced.

“With overcrowded classrooms, dilapidated infrastructure, ill-motivated staff and students and, in some cases, unqualified staff, Nigeria universities have fallen to the level of routine producers of uncultured or uneducatedschool leavers. Some of those who can afford it, especially government officials, have since resorted to taking their children to our neighbouring countries Ghana, Togo, Ivory Coast, Liberia etc for their university education. This is a clear loss of faith in Nigerian university system. This is why we are on strike.”

He also stressed that the FG must honour the pact it had with ASUU four years ago, saying that “it is demeaning, despicable and an expression of lack of integrity on government’s part to renege on its promise.”

The branch of ASUU also insisted that they won’t call off the strike, until the FG acts accordingly.

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