Few months back, The Governor of Oyo state, on the basis of being the ”constituted Authority” in his state humiliated students of LAUTECH, and debased their rights not just as students, but as Nigerians. They were dishonored for demanding for the attention and intervention of the state government on the situation of things in the Oyo and Osun State owned University. They were not clamoring for the resignation of the governor, neither were they there to seek for the reduction of the their tuition or the payment of the tuition fee by the governor, all they wanted was for the government to ensure that the school is reopen. However, being the constituted authority the Governor lambasted the students, as a man would do to beggars who is asking for too much.
The travails of students in Nigerian Public Higher Institution are as numerous as the stars in the sky. To be a student of any Nigerian institutions, especially public institutions is sarcastically a thing of envy. In fact, to escape the rigor in these institutions is a great landmark achievement. Every person who has gone through the educational system has his or her own peculiar story, story of how he/she circumvent the bitter-sweet realities in these Public Institutions. Nigerians, during their retrospect on their time on these campuses, either laugh out loud in amusement, or sigh deeply in sincere pity for the future of the country. It must be stated that though some realities are totally unpalatable, however, there are realities that makes the stay of students worthwhile on campus. Usually, bad realities on campuses overwhelms that good, however these are some of the experiences Nigerian Students contend with went studying in must Nigerians public higher institution.
Haunted Hostels: Living in the school hostels as a student on campus is as dangerous as living in the jungle. The theme of survival of the fittest seems to govern the campus jungle. Students get to meet different students who are trying to survive the educational terrain just as themselves. cases of scoters is not uncommon, overcrowded hostels is the order of the day; a small room meant for six students, might be occupied by up to 18 official and unofficial occupant. Bedbug, pests and rodents have been menaces too hard for the students and the authorities to contend with. These hostels are in most cases dilapidated, bed-space are limited, the safety of students is not guaranteed, toilets are unusually broken causing students to always treat toilet diseases. Erratic power supply, little or no water supply have been issues that make the lives of students unbearable. While we might say that the cost of paying for hostel in Public institution is relatively cheap compared to that of private institutions, however, hostels of Public institutions are haunted by conditions too inhumane. No wonder, students protest, riot, and have countless face-off with the school authorities.
Student Harassment: Nigerian students are constantly harassed by those paid to nurture and protect them. Students, mostly female students are harassed by staffs of the higher institutions. If you are too beautiful as a female student and too macho as a male, then you might have to watch the amount of make-up you wear, and reduce the wearing of seductive dresses, because, if you are molested by staff of the university, you might not get justice. In fact, you might be blamed for the incident. The university system neither frown against this shameful act, nor does the system support it. We know that lecturer threaten to truncate the academic aspirations of students if they don’t give their bodies to gratify them. While some student do this without threats or imploring, others are force to sleep with lecturers to be able to graduate from the institution. Students have been harassed by their colleagues, the government and security agencies in times past to.
Frequent Strikes and Disruption of Academic Calendar: This is a notable features of the Nigeria Higher Education. A year doesn’t go by without news of teaching or non-teaching staff of the universities going on strikes due to one grievance of the other. It is either they want something from the government, like the payment of their outstanding salaries or reviewed salary structure and other grievances, or they want the government to fulfill their own side of an agreement. This frequent disruption of academic activities might be due to other reasons, such as students’ protest, rioting in school and students’ restlessness. In most cases, students are left stranded in their different homes for months, left to do nothing other than to waste away and to get involved in different social vices. This continuous problem has caused academic calendars to be extended unduly and unnecessarily.
Violence and Cult Activities: Although, violence in Nigerian Public Higher Institutions are not has rampant has we have it in time past, but they are still evident. The nefarious activities of cults on campuses are undeniable, violent, intimidation and killings as a result of cult rivalry are also obvious. Students are usually careful not to step on the toes of the so-called powerful folks, who seek respect from their fellow students without earning it.
Campus Politics: Politics is one of those spices that makes the stay of students on campus very interesting. Students make use of this avenue to assert their influence, to showcase their charisma, to test their leadership prowess and to savor the sour-sweet taste of power. Campus politics is an important endeavor for students, it is one of the few avenues where students can actually make decisions for themselves without the influence of the authorities of the institutions. Some Student representatives are usually radical and bold enough to confront the authorities of their institution. Campus politics can be exciting, but it can get really violent when hijacked by desperate students or by cult groups. Most institutions usually call in the security agencies to oversee elections to avoid any upheaval. In fact, due to persistence electoral disturbance some institutions have placed embargoes on political activities on campus.
Social Activities: Social Activities make the stay on campus memorable. This activities help students unwind and have fun. Students organized parties, dinner’s parties, picnics, seminars, talk shows, Fresher’s Orientation ceremonies, to let off the steam of hard work. They get to relate with their fellow students, make friends and also build their networks. Fortunately and unfortunately, students who have been deprived of freedom in their homes would go beyond their boundaries in expressing this freedom, which might not be too good.
Stringent Academic Activities: Well, only serious students would be able to relate to this experience adequately. If you understand what it feels like to have an apartment in the school library, read at night with candles, in open classes with the cold breeze making your body fidget uncontrollably, then you will agree with me that it takes hard work to please lecturers in public higher institution, except if you know any other ways to get what you want from these overbearing educators. Majority of Nigerian students understand that the only way out of the gates of these institutions is hard work.
Inadequate Facilities: Most Public Institutions are shadows of themselves. This buildings in this institutions are decapitated, there are inadequate number of classrooms, facilities for learning such as the ICT center and library are not equipped, laboratories are also not equipped, imagine a situation where 100 students have to share two microscope, than you ask yourself how these students are to learn what is being thought, at the end of the day, they have no choice than to make use of the theoretical knowledge that they have, while they lag behind when it come to the enactment of what they have been taught.
The above-listed experiences might me frustrating and gratifying, however, these experience make every Nigerian student unique.
Photo Credit: Guardian Nigeria