10 Ways to Improve Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in Nigeria – The academic staff of universities in Nigeria cannot forget what the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has done for them. The salary structure that the university academic staff members are enjoying today is the handwork of ASUU.
Yet, ASUU needs improvement. Therefore, I want to point out ten ways to improve the union. The ten ways that I want us to look at are:
- Change in methodology
- Seeking the support of Nigerian students
- Seeking the support of academic stakeholders
- Cooperating with the federal government
- Providing solutions to university problems
- Discipline among union members
- Abiding by trade union roles
- Becoming democratic
Ways of Improving ASUU
1. Change in Methodology
We cannot deny the fact that ASUU is doing a great job in the Nigerian universities. What is becoming boring about ASUU’s work is its method of trying to achieve its objectives.
Arguably, the strike is the language that the federal government understands best. Nevertheless, ASUU strikes are becoming problems instead of solutions.
ASUU strikes have become what the Ukwani man calls “zor ishi gbu ishi”, meaning save a head by killing a head. Saving a person by killing another person cannot be acceptable in all circumstances.
The fact that ASUU goes on strike for months only to ask the federal government for full salary for the months its members did not work is not acceptable by law all over the world. ASUU should review this. Let them point out where else that is done outside Nigeria.
Similarly, ASUU strikes are not in any way favourable to the students. ASUU is more or less killing Nigerian students in an attempt to save them. Recent students’ protests prove this fact. Nigerian university students are not too young to know their rights.
The students fighting against ASUU while ASUU is fighting against the federal government is bringing chaos to Nigeria as a country. Therefore, ASUU should review its methodology for improvement.
2. Seeking the Support of Nigerian Students
To improve ASUU, it should no longer fight alone. The improvement of the universities that ASUU is fighting for is for the students. Therefore, ASUU should not keep them aloof. ASUU will do better when it fights with Nigerian students.
As ASUU is the Academic Staff Union of Universities, NANS is the National Association of Nigerian Students. You can then see that Nigerian students have their union just as their lecturers have theirs. For improvement, the two of them must work together.
3. Seeking the Support of Academic Stakeholders
As far as I am concerned, many academic stakeholders are no longer happy with ASUU. To the parents and guardians of Nigerian students, ASUU is punishing them terribly. For the improvement of ASUU, it should seek the support of these stakeholders before embarking on its strikes.
One thing that is worrisome about ASUU strikes is the length of the strikes. A one-week strike may not create any negative impact. The strikes become problems when they run for months, nay, indefinitely. ASUU should seek the support of all Nigerian academic stakeholders before embarking on all indefinite strikes.
4. Cooperating with the Federal Government
One way of improving ASUU is its cooperation with the federal government. ASUU is in Nigeria. It knows the problems that are in Nigeria. Why demand what the federal government cannot afford?
Must the federal government borrow money for everything? ASUU should devise a means of helping the federal government to raise funds for the university system. ASUU depending wholly on the federal government for its salaries and all other things is unacceptable.
5. Providing Solutions to University Problems
To improve ASUU, it should begin to look inward and provide solutions to the problems in the universities. ASUU should see itself as the owner of the universities.
One problem with ASUU is that its members see themselves as hirelings. Seeing themselves as academic stakeholders in the universities will go a long way to improving the union. Thus, ASUU should raise itself to the status of providing solutions instead of creating problems.
To improve ASUU, there must be accountability in the union. ASUU leadership should be accountable to its members and all Nigerians.
Some leaders are fund of embezzlements. Such a thing should not be found in ASUU. Even diversion of funds should not be found if there must be an improvement in the union.
ASUU leadership must be ready to explain to those who care about their decisions. Whatever they do should be well accounted for. Any money that comes to the universities should be well accounted for. If this happens, there will be a great improvement in ASUU.
7. Discipline among ASUU Members
To improve ASUU, there must be discipline among its members. ASUU members should avoid acts of indiscipline. As respected members of society, they should respect themselves.
A situation where women report cases of sexual harassment is not good enough for our universities. No matter how indecent the ladies dress, lecturers should discipline themselves and look away from them.
Extortion in the university system is an act of indiscipline. ASUU members should not extort the students they lecture as they are well paid. They should be satisfied with their salaries.
They should see the students as future leaders who should not be taught the wrong way. Whatever the lecturers do today, their students copy for tomorrow.
Cultism is an unwelcomed development in Nigeria. Therefore, it is unacceptable to find ASUU members among cultists. For there to be an improvement in ASUU, its members must shun all these acts of indiscipline.
8. Self-Cleansing Among Union Members
Self-cleansing has to do with self-purification. No ASUU member should allow any evil thought to be in him. The devil is very wicked. It does not like anything good.
Likewise, those who give themselves to the devil are always evil. They go against goodness. ASUU cannot be said to be doing evil. It is fighting for the betterment of the universities and the future of Nigerians. The more educationally powered people we have in Nigeria, the better for us.
Therefore, if ASUU is fighting for the betterment of the universities in Nigeria, it is only trying to make sure that the universities produce capable people for Nigeria. This cannot be said to be evil.
All that is needed is ASUU doing things in the right way that is acceptable to, at least, the majority of reasonable Nigerians. It is for this reason that all ASUU members should purge themselves of all evil thoughts and emotions that will jeopardize this vision.
9. Abiding by Trade Union Roles
ASUU should improve by abiding by the roles of trade unions in Nigeria. One of the primary roles of the trade unions is to promote industrial peace in the nation. ASUU seems to be failing in this role.
This fact can be proven by the fact that many people have started to go against ASUU. The fact that the students can protest against ASUU strikes proves that they are not with ASUU. Therefore, ASUU should improve on this wise.
10. Becoming Democratic
ASUU should improve by becoming democratic. The major problem that most Nigerians have with ASUU is the nature of its strikes. Becoming democratic can help ASUU to solve its strike problems.
Democracy demands that people vote on ASUU strikes before it embarks on all strikes. A percentage should be agreed upon that must be reached before a strike holds.
One thing is clear. Those who support ASUU strikes cannot go against them. If the agreed percentage is not reached, ASUU should not proceed on a strike.
At present, there is a possibility that not all members of ASUU support the present strike. Democracy will help ASUU to identify such members. It will equally make other stakeholders from going against ASUU. ASUU will then be on the safe side.
ASUU needs improvement now. The above improvements will help it move from the position of being a problem to being a solution in Nigeria.
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