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Saturday, September 24, 2022

#Nigeria’s Private Universities Gain More Students As ASUU Strike Lingers

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Some private universities in the country have seen an increase in enrollment figures as the indefinite Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike lingers.

Recall, that since February 14, 2022, there have been no academic activities in public universities in the country due to the ongoing ASUU strike.

The union is demanding the release of revitalisation funds for universities, renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement, release of earned allowances for university lecturers, and deployment of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).

Two weeks ago, the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu said the Federal Government had addressed most of the union’s demands including the release of N50b for the payment of earned allowances for academic and non-academic and non-academic staff of universities but said the that the union will not be paid the arrears of the strike period.

The union has also insisted on not calling off the lingering strike until the arrears are settled.

Following the union’s National Executive Council (NEC) meeting on Sunday, August 27, 2022, the strike was declared to be total and indefinite which entered its 200th day today, September 2, 2022.

The institutions based in Kano, Kaduna, and Katsina said although the ASUU strike was not something to celebrate because of its negative impact on the education sector, they were reaping from it.

In Kano, sources from five private universities said the over six-month-old strike had boosted their enrollment figure.

The state has five private universities: Maryam Abacha American University of Nigeria (MAAUN), Skyline University, Kano, Al-Istiqama University, Sumaila, Capital City and Baba Ahmed University.

The MAAUN’s spokesperson, Tukur Masanaw, said the institution commenced academic sessions in 2021/2022, enrolling over 1,000 students.

“Out of the 111 private varsities in Nigeria, it is the only varsity that started with the highest enrollment in the country,” he said.

The proprietor of Al-Istiqama University, Abdurrahman Sumaila, said the ASUU strike had boosted their enrollment figure.

“Al-Istiqama University is witnessing an increase in its enrollment this time, courtesy of the ongoing nationwide strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU),” said the university’s official.

Mr Kawu-Sumaila added that dozens of students from various public universities were also joining the university on transfer since the commencement of the ASUU strike.

Also, Haruna Aliyu, the registrar of Skyline, said the institution received more students this year compared to 2021.

“Most of the students were transferred to Kano Campus from outside the country because they could not continue to school abroad due to an increase in the dollar exchange rate,” he explained. “This year, we also received about 36 transfers from the neighbouring university, which include Bayero University, Kano and Yusuf Maitama Sule University, Kano, among others.”

Similarly, the spokesperson for Capital City University, Walida Bello, said due to the ASUU strike, parents had been coming to enquire about enrolling their children in the university.

Suleiman Kofar-Naisa, the dean of student affairs of Baba Ahmed University, said registration of students was ongoing in the school.

Meanwhile, Greenfield University in Kaduna said the worsening insecurity hindered the institution from recording a boost in enrolment due to the ASUU strike.

In Katsina, the spokesperson for Al-Qalam University, Akilu Abubakar, said it would only show in their next admission if there were any increase in student enrolment.

“I have been receiving a series of calls from people, especially parents, who said they are losing confidence in the public universities due to the persistent ASUU strike,” he noted. “They have been asking when Alqualam is commencing the next admission because they are planning to return their children to the institution.”

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