Disrupt learning no more!
Undergraduates of local
universities breathed a huge sigh of relief on hearing the news
that the prolonged strike by the non-academic staff of
universities had been called off. The air was thick with their
joy and thrill on realizing that their stalled academic
activities could be resumed forthwith. We partake of their
happiness and request the quarters concerned to ensure that the
doors of our universities remain open for the resumption and
continuance of undergraduate academic activities in particular.
However, it is a pity that the work stoppage by the
non-academic staff of our universities was allowed to drag-on.
As we mentioned a couple of days back, strikes of this kind
should not be allowed continue indefinitely. At the first sight
of problems of this kind, the authorities need to engage the
disaffected parties concerned in talks aimed at quickly defusing
the issues in dispute, without permitting them to bourgeon into
full-blown crises. However, these requirements were either
ignored or taken lightly and the problem was allowed to
aggravate by those who could bring about a resolution. The end
results were a prolonged paralysis of our seats of higher
learning and the steady dampening of the spirits of our
However, although late, the authorities did engage the trade
unions of the striking employees and there apparently were some
fruitful discussions which led to a resolution of the strike. It
would not be irrelevant to mention that in our editorial of last
Tuesday titled. 'Resolve this strike', we called on the sides to
the dispute to negotiate an end to the crisis without further
delay. The strike was called off on Tuesday evening and it seems
that our exhortations were heeded by at least some.
Hopefully, there would be no more disruptions to the academic
activities at our universities. This hope is occasioned by the
widespread concern that the academic staff of our universities
would, next, resort to strike action, citing salary-related
grievances, which they say are yet to be resolved. Should this
come to pass, our universities would return to the deplorable
and distressing condition in which they were prior to Tuesday.
The learning process would be severely affected and our
undergraduate population compelled to contemplate an uncertain
and bleak future.
We caution against impatient strike action by our university
Dons. Precipitate strike action in whatever sector in this
country has not brought any relief worth speaking of to the
strikers. On the contrary, such actions have only sown misery
and hardships for the people and the strikers concerned. Our
Dons could rest assured that the authorities would in no way be
affected by their strikes. If at all any gains have been
achieved, they have been the results of rational and patient
discussion between the strikers and the authorities.
Accordingly, there is no alternative to patient and rational
dialogue in these situations.
Besides, our strikers need to always bear in mind the larger
public interest. The party which would be affected most by
strikes at universities, launched by both the academic and
non-academic staff, is the student community. Why should the
students be compelled to suffer for perceived issues the
academics or non-academics have with the country's authorities?
Why should the learning process be held up over these questions
which should be resolved by university administrations and
governments? Unfortunately, it has become the norm almost for
the national interest to be sacrificed in the most selfish
fashion in these strikes at our principal institutions. While
the disaffected must be guided by their consciences, the
authorities must move fast to nip these crises in the bud. The
authorities reflect a tendency to drag their feet in these
situations and this negative mindset could have dire
consequences for the country. We urge the authorities to address
swiftly any outstanding issues with the Dons.
On the question of social upheavals of the worst kind, this
country could be said to have gone through the mill. Delayed
remedial action by governments on vital issues and defeated
aspirations of the youth of this country and their
disenchantments, have bred socio-political cataclysms of the
most mind-numbing kind. History must be the guide of the
authorities as well as of the Dons. May wisdom prevail!