This is the most trending question asked by the majority of Nigerian students, not sidelining other questions like “When will ASUU call off the strike? Will universities resume this year? Will fresh students resume this year?
For the past few months, it has been obvious that the intentions of the Federal Government (FG) of Nigeria is not to voluntarily close down the educational system of this nation. In fact, the power to open tertiary and secondary institutions doesn’t entirely lie in their hands. Since the outbreak of the corona virus and the directives for school closure was made public, many things have happened and have resulted to the continuous shutdown of the university system, even after government gave the greenlight for reopening schools.
In recent times, the Covid-19 curve has somewhat flattened and that gave governments all over Nigeria a head start of reopening schools, but under stringent measures. These measures, among other directives, included strict adherence to Covid-19 safety guidelines as provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Nigerian Centre of Disease Prevention and Control (NCDC).
However, many students still sit at home, confused, not knowing if they would return to their lecture halls again this year. Several factors have contributed to the uncertainty of tertiary institutions’ resumption this year with the ASUU strike being a strong determinant. Other relevant government agencies including Nigeria Universities Commission (NUC), Presidential Task Force (PTF), Ministry of Health have all given the approval for school resumption but the major determining body has always been the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). ASUU has held the government, students, and even parents at ransom with no sign of eventual freedom until their demands are met.
Notwithstanding, within this pandemic period, many private universities in Nigeria did not alter their academic calendars. Although these private varsities might have been shut down physically, their academic proceedings seem not to be stagnated as the case with government owned universities.
The Academician, Tai Solarin said the inability of Nigerian universities to keep on running in the face of the pandemic, in this 21st century, exposed the infrastructural deficiency in government owned universities which has been the pivot of the struggle between ASUU and the FG since their inception.
Just recently, there were rumors that ASUU had called off the ongoing strike, a news the Union later clearly faulted and outrightly disclaimed. To some students, it was indeed a good news while it was a deep shock to the others.
Sampling the opinions of Nigerian students on Twitter subsequent to some discourse on ASUU strike, many students claimed to have moved on with their lives. Some were really hoping the disclaimed news was actually false, some didn’t even sound interested in schooling anymore — after all, school na scam, as they claimed.
A few students would not even resume back to school when it eventually reopens, but to some dedicated ones, the hope is still intact and the drive to resume and study is dominant.
With all being said, the unwavering question that keeps ringing and awaiting urgent answers is “When will Universities resume?”