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A professor’s pay slip and lessons from ASUU strike

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At its wit’s end, ASUU yielded to being kicked down the road with the can. At which point triumphant government officials were only too pleased to bury the

hatchet right in the wounded back of the union. It’s no
use going over the long list of the union’s grievances,
which has often been summarised as poor funding for
education.
It might, however, be useful to see how the pay-slip of an
associate professor, who has spent nearly 20 years in a
first-rank federal university, tells the story.

This professor earns N436,545 monthly. Of this amount,
total deductions – including payments for NHF for which
no forms were completed, and inexplicable sundry taxes
– account for 205k. The professor’s net monthly salary is
about 232k; that is, roughly N8,000 daily for teaching,
research and community service!

We can argue that in a country of generally low wages
and poor productivity, misery is inevitably widespread.
Yet, I think most might agree that if we want a truly
great, secure and prosperous future, it is futile to pay
peanuts and not expect monkeys in our classrooms. The
question, however, is how do we deliver more value to
the system.

focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering and
Mathematics (STEM). The remaining 31 can be taken up
either by state governments that wish to do so, or they
are organised into autonomous units. Of course, not all
of them will survive.

A system of sponsorships, scholarships and loans should
be reestablished.

The reason for proposing two universities instead of one
is that if only one university is established the system will
gradually and eventually crowd out STEM, because our
people seem to have difficulty coping with the rigour of
science.

It’s true that useless Federal bureaucracies – TETFUND,
PTDF – are fattening themselves at the expense of the
entire system. Yet, we have seen from the way the
universities manage funds even from their own internal
programmes, that unless the system becomes more
competitive, intentional, transparent and accountable,
funds or grants, even if they come, would be wasted.
According to a Central Bank report in May, Nigerians paid
about $11.6 billion as fees in foreign universities in the
last three years, including schools in countries whose
citizens used to come here for higher education. It’s not
enough to wring our hands in lament. Already, the seed
for the next strike has been sown by the government’s
malicious compliance with its own agreement from the
first day – a trend that we have seen in the last over two
decades.

Perhaps the only thing that will save us from this
famished road sooner than later is for teachers, parents,
students and the government to admit that the system is
broken. It will cost everyone something more than just
kicking the can down the road to fix it.

Ishiekwene is Editor-In-Chief of LEADERSHIP

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