If you are presently studying in any public Nigerian university at undergraduate level and are affected by the ongoing strike, this information is for you. You should strive to add value to yourself in this season but first, let me tell you why.
It is possible that you do not owe any fees at the Nigerian academic institution where you are a registered student. It is likely that your parents or sponsors have done their best to get your tuition, departmental, students’ association, accommodation and miscellaneous fees paid accordingly this semester. It is certain that you did not sign up at the university simply because you would like to grow grey hairs in an academic environment. Even if you owe your school some fees presently, creating a season of unending idleness in your life does not guaranty its payment. There are surer and better ways to make you comply. Therefore, you do not deserve the striking deadlock that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and Nigerian government have created. You are a student under oath, so what you deserve is predictable education.
I do not blame ASUU for going on the strike. What else would a union of workers do to influence their employer? Yet, I cannot find absolute fault with the consultation team of President Goodluck Jonathan (who is a PhD holder himself) because they did not create the mess in the public tier of our educational sector. The mess in the sector had been smelly and obvious long before his tenure. In fact during my undergrad days of 2005-2010, I once sat under a lecturer who boasted that the browned, torn and long-suffering notes given to us to photocopy were the actual notes he copied 15 years ago under the tutelage of a renowned late professor. Yes, I also put my hands on my head in awe saying, “Mo Gbe!” when I heard him. That was just one out of a hundred experiences.
Now, ASUU is trying to fight for improvement in the quality of tertiary education in our country and it is obvious that mainly the generation of students after you would partake in the fruits of their struggle. So, what can you do to ensure that when the strike is over you do not return to school like a victimised Methuselah? How can you add value during this strike or any forthcoming one?
Take free courses online.
If you are lucky enough to have access to Internet service through smartphones, notepads or computers at home, on campus, in your neighbourhood or relative’s workplace, find time to take free courses at any of www.alison.com, www.coursera.org, www.edx.org, www.iversity.org. You may also contact dinehintop(at)yahoo(dot)com to be considered for courses on www.ikronikles.com by quoting “Edupower Crew” in your email.
Volunteer to work for NGOs.
Some organisations are constantly seeking volunteers and interns who can work for them physically or online. They are not obliged to pay you but the experience gained is usually a boost for your CV. It is also an opportunity to build professional contacts and get useful recommendations. To find volunteer opportunities, visit www.idealist.org, www.unv.org, www.leapafrica.com or send an email to ayodeji(at)easy(dot)com to get more specific information or even join Edupower Crew.
Work for your parents, their friends or some relative.
If your parents are self-employed, you could negotiate for a pay and work for them. Otherwise, you could ask them to link you up with people who are doing something you like and could employ you. However, you must be able to prove that they need you and ensure you don’t disappoint your recommender.
Start a small business.
If you are a risk-taker, you can start a small business. Otherwise, if you have friends that have certain IT or vocational skills, collaborate with them and work for them. After learning from them for a while, you might just be daring enough to start something.
Register at a library and study.
Find a library in your neighbourhood where you can study and form a discussion group at a public location. Review your academic results and find students that can help you understand them. Prepare yourself ahead of school.
Sometimes, doing a mixture of the above would help you add much value before returning to school. Whichever one you choose, I wish you the best!