The general public especially the unemployed youths are thrilled by any newspaper headline expressing that one university or another sacks her visiting lecturers/contract staff, thinking that a vacancy has open up for them. This is an ignorant perception.
It is worthy of note that, before you are employed as a visiting lecturer or contract staff you must have attained the level of a senior lecturer and or possess the requisite experience/knowledge in a particular discipline with many articles published in international as well as local journals. They are employed to fill a vacuum where the permanent staff are not enough or not good enough to handle a section of a particular specialization. This affects many disciplines especially Engineering, Science and Medical colleges where research areas are vast and tedious.
The federal government has succeeded in blackmailing ASUU to the extent that some members of the public use their bad experiences with their project supervisors when they were students or visiting lecturers that were not true to their assignment to further castigate ASUU and side with the government forgetting the fact that this struggle is meant to stop a collapse of supposedly most reputable system not individual experience.
They also claimed that the main aim of introducing IPPIS in our tertiary institutions is to curb corruption as if that is the only way they can do that or that our institutions become places where alarming corruption is perpetrated that needed emergency response, at the same time leaving agencies that deal with huge sums of revenues uncaptured. Perhaps, the unstated aim was to get rid of visiting lecturers and contract staff and also restructure the way sabbatical staff are engaged to satisfy their SAVING agenda at all cost.
Conversely, It is a global practice that universities require contract staff and visiting lecturers to function perfectly because no university has enough and
also to prepare future teachers and researchers. For instance many universities around the world employ their PhD students as contract staff while they are still studying. In sum, a university is an appellation where constant flow of learners is strictly needed to prepare students for life.
The aftermath of forceful enrollment onto IPPIS vindicates ASUU in many ways. For instance, lecturers in medical colleges that double as physicians conducting bed side researches, consultation, diagnosis etc. complained of receiving truncated salaries since inception of IPPIS.
Also, despite the presidential order mandating the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation to pay the striking lecturers their withheld salaries, still the entire academic staff of some universities are omitted. At the same vein, the lucky universities whose academic staff were paid, a section of them still struggles with omission since February. In effect, there are a lot of inconsistencies and inefficiencies associated with the platform as ASUU foresaw.
I do not believe that the Federal Government is not aware of all the issues raised by ASUU and other concerned citizens. They certainly know because some members of the cabinet were teachers or ASUU’s most cherished well-wishers before they joined politics. Now that ASUU is seen as an enemy, these people should stand to protect the remnant of our educational system before it is too late.
AbuSalma, A. Yahuza