ASUU strike: Undergraduates besiege Skills Centres

Nigerian undergraduates and admission seekers in public universities have now besieged various skill acquisition centres to garner vocational skills as a result of the ongoing industrial strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU as the strike enters the third month.

It was  gathered that information technology, digital literacy, fashion designing, make-up, computer engineering top the list of skills the students are learning.

Others are: Web Design & Programming, CISCO Networking Administration, Software Engineering Mobile and Web App Development, Hardware Engineering, Cloud Computing, Data Science, Database Management, Vision and Graphics and IT Security.

The centres are located mainly at major cities in Ondo state.

Some of the students who spoke with The Hope, stated that the worsening economic situation in  the country and  unstable education system coupled with the ongoing strike  by varsity lecturers, were among the factors that propelled  them towards acquiring skills instead of staying idle.

It will be recalled that ASUU, on February 14, had declared a one-month warning strike to protest non-implementation of the 2009 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the federal government and the union..

Also on March 14, the union extended it by another two months to afford the government more time address all of its demands.

Some of the affected students who have lost hope of early resolution of the crisis, said they have become tired of waking up every day doing nothing, only to be hanging around.

They explained that it would be better to  start learning vocational skills, pending the suspension of the industrial action.

A student of Adekunle Ajasin University, Olamide Abidemi said, she is learning digital skills related to her course of study.

“God help us. By the time the strike will be over, I would have acquired knowledge about the digital world, “she said.

Another AAUA student, Omowunmi  Oluwatosin said she is utilizing the ongoing strike to learn more about fashion designing.

“Currently, I am into fashion designing. It is a skill I’m in love with. Now, I can handle my friends and colleagues’ dresses.

According to Taiwo Adetunji, a student of Ogun State Institute of Technology, acquiring painting skill outside school would open doors of job opportunity for him after school without waiting for a white collar job.

“Unlike a company or a white collar job where you have to resume work by 8am, skill learning will give you enough time to be on your own.

“Painting was difficult at first. I could not get the accurate measurement and identification of chemicals right.  But with time, I kept getting better and better.”

In the same vein, a student of Kwara State University, Adeniyi Gbolahan said he was leaning barbing.

“Before I ventured into barbing, I was not sure if I wanted to go for it, until I realised that the bedrock of any business is risk-taking.

“The good thing about skills acquisition is that our innovation is from what someone else has done before. All we have left is to bring something new and be creative.”

However, the students,  appealed to the federal government and the striking lecturers to suspend the action and save their future.

Kolawole, one of the students learning how to make bridal dress at a fashion school, lamented the elongation of the duration of their courses as a result of incessant strike.

He said, “It is becoming too much as a four-year course is turning to six years. Moreover, the students are at the receiving end.

“After the strike, the lecturers will still be paid. Unfortunately, politicians’ children are either schooling outside the country or not studying in public universities. So, we are appealing to them to consider us.”

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