The world is dared; we unarguably grapple with the unrest, pandemic of novel coronavirus, Covid 19. All countries of the world are all incapacitated in many ways, economically, socially, politically and to a large extent, educationally.
My interest is in education. Before this, Mr President, I wish to appreciate your efforts towards the safety and wellbeing of Nigerians. You seem to be trying your best, however inadequate.
Personally, I know Nigerians are faced with hunger. For your and our experience, we must know that hunger kills; famine is a deathtrap we must not set upon our nation through covid 19, to avoid double jeopardy: pandemic and famine.
Since this is not the focus of my letter to you, still I implore you to do the needful so that we don’t only continue to read your words on the pages of newspapers, but we also begin to truly feel the impact of your palliatives.
The crust of this letter is to address you on the state of education, the need for online meeting between Federal Government and ASUU, the urgency of reaching an agreement, the possibility of holding online class and the need to salvage our country against every possible implication of the pandemic.
We do not pray to lose more lives, we have suffered enough.
Our hearts go to countries of the world like USA, ITALY, CHINA, RUSSIA, etc.
While we are taking precautious and meticulous steps to curb further spread and deaths, we MUST not allow the situation to wreck havoc on all sectors of our economy.
Our education must be rescued, salvaged from the impending global damage that is already sinking global economy.
To address this issue, Mr President, I’ll give very short pieces of advice.
First, it’s needless to say that attempts have been made to “cut” national budget in order to address the pandemic and make more provision for its curb.
It’s however disturbing to note that the budget of national assembly is still “fatter” than that of education.
In fact, members of House of Representatives who had earlier promised to surrender their March salary have still claimed it.
If this is true from what’s read from the pages of newspapers, then they may not seem to have our interests at heart.
Nobody wishes them hunger, but leaders or representatives are defined, sometimes, through sacrifice.
While they have their blames as lawmakers who are also saddled with the responsibility of reviewing budget, Federal Government, through your office, Mr President, has colossally failed to give education the required attention and percentage in the national budget.
When one compares this percentage to other countries, one would realise there’s no place for education in our National projection for development. How then do we develop?
As a piece of advice, once the pandemic is over, perhaps in our next national plans, education MUST be prioritised.
Second, the incessant ASUU strike would continue to have adverse effects on our economy.
There is no doubt that, government has continually failed to provide a definite solution to this protraction.
Your government manifestly promised to find an enduring panacea to the industrial action during your campaigns.
Yet, if one is correct, one can appropriately conclude that we’ve faced about four ASUU strikes within your five years of being President.
Isn’t this colossally ignominious to our economy and claim as the giant of Africa? Should this mean you are indifferent to giving us quality education and saving our falling standard in education?
Mr President, call your Minister of Education to order, put your house in order and put an end to this national shame.
This shows lethargy and maybe, nonchalance. Mr President, the state of education in Nigeria is such that needs “state of emergency.” Nigerians still think you can make Nigeria work again.
Third, there is an urgent need for online meeting between Federal Government and ASUU.
The pandemic cannot cut off activities in space; it only calls for social distancing. Lagos state government operates, holds meetings online and the running of government is nonstop.
Gracefully, Nigerian governors have begun online, radio and TV revision classes for secondary schools across the country, however effective and ineffective.
USA, despite her colossal death hit, continues to move her education through Zoom and other online platforms.
Why shouldn’t agreement between ASUU and Federal Government be negotiated through online meeting?
Once agreement is reached, Mr President should create a good platform for online classes subsequently.
The pandemic is not an excuse, Mr President. Holding online meeting does not request big spending as you may want to suggest or complain.
Education is one of the bedrocks of national development. We must not rue every aspect of our national growth after the pandemic; while our commercial activities are put on halt, our educational activities must not be on complete halt, Mr President.
Finally, Mr President, I have not craved for things other than calling off ASUU strike through online meeting, the possibility of holding online class in tertiary institutions across the country and the need to salvage our country against every possible harsh implication of failed education during the pandemic.
Mr President, if you think hunger is meant for us and you don’t want to honestly cushion the effects of the pandemic, failing state of education is not meant for us.
After all, we deserve better than we receive as palliatives.
Muideen Adekunle, CEO, Generis Ivy Schools, an online platform for Content Writing, English Testing Services, Speech and Script Writing, writes from Lagos.