The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), has blamed the poor attention students get from lecturers to the poor learning environment across universities.
Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, National President of the association, made this known when he featured on the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Forum in Abuja on Sunday.
Ogunyemi said that the learning environment in the 1980s and 1990s was quite different from what was currently obtained, stressing that the environment in most universities was no longer conducive for effective learning.
“First, I do not agree with you that they do not pay attention to their students, but, again, you can see that lecturers have hindrances in the discharge of their mandate.
“Lecturers are supposed to do three things – teach, conduct research and carry out community services.
“I have visited a lot of campuses; the environment is not conducive. In our days in the university, we had what we called clinic hours. I started that way in 1988.
“Clinic hours are when students could come freely into my office and we will discuss their problems, academic and otherwise. It was possible because where I was working, we had stable power supply.
“Now, you will see that in some campuses, they will give you light during the office hours, and that is the end, and this clinic hour is best outside office hours.
“Lecturers are not routine workers; lecturers too are under pressure in their offices. They do not have the comfort, they do not have the wherewithal to do their work and students’ populations is more than four times over.’’
Ogunyemi said that relating, communicating and getting to know the students had become difficult as a result of the large population.
According to him, students oftentimes hide under this situation and may not even come to class which makes it difficult for lecturers to track them.
He also highlighted inadequate laboratory and library facilities as some other major hindrances to effective learning.
“So, you find that each time ASUU talks about the universities, these are issues we are trying to track and we bring them to the attention of government.
“That is why even now, we were having a regime of negotiation with the government team led by Dr Wale Babalakin, which was truncated at some point.
“That is why we are trying to engage the issues of funding of universities, universities are now grossly underfunded.
“We are also trying to talk about the conditions of service.
“The fourth area we are engaging is the enabling environment for academics to do their work. I believe academics in Nigeria are still doing their best within our environmental circumstances.
“That is why you still see our products going to universities abroad and still excelling.’’
He noted that the sector had the capacity to breed quality products regardless of the environment, and urged lecturers to give students the needed support.
Ogunyemi emphasised the need for further negotiations with the Federal Government on funding and the provision of adequate learning environment and materials for the development of the education sector.
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