Africa Youth Growth Foundation (AYGF), an NGO, has encouraged students to register for online courses and acquire skills to become productive as the strike of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) continues.
The Executive Director, AYGF, Dr Arome Salifu gave the advice at a news conference on the lingering ASUU strike, on Wednesday in Abuja.
Salifu said that the students should update themselves with new skills, as any period of crisis is a period to rediscover one’s self.
He said the ASUU strike which had lasted for seven months, has crippled the education sector, especially in the areas of engineering, research and development.
According to him, one of the consequences of the strike is in widening the country’s workforce gap, which will manifest in the future.
“Statistics have it that it would take Africa, Nigeria inclusive, 250 years to get to the current development level of the United States of America.
“These include trained workforce and human capital development.
“Nigeria being the giant of Africa is trapped in the circle of unending stoppages in the process of developing its workforce.
“This is a huge setback for Africa, because in the long run, we would not only be left behind by other countries in human capital development, but also be burdened by capital flight.
“This is in the way of importing human resources and products that could have been produced locally,’’ the executive director said.
Salifu added that another major fallout of the incessant strike was in the area of brain drain, due to continuous unemployment.
He said that the failure of ASUU and the Federal Government to settle their differences and end the strike has negatively affected the students.
“The strike so far has not yielded any positive result, that is why we are here.
“Our aims at AYGF is not to apportion blame, we have put our heads together and suggested a way forward from the current impasse.
“If we look at the consequences of the strike, we have no choice but to plead with all parties to sheath their swords.
“We recommend that the government put empathy for the students first, it must take into cognizance the fact that our human capital development gap is widening .
“Students are going to be rushed through their courses, overburdened, and the entire system will be crowded with mediocrity,” he said.
Salifu, therefore, said the government should as a matter of urgency go the whole hog in solving this issue.
He said AYGF also urged ASUU to find a middle ground in its negotiation with government.
Salifu said AYGF was committed to promoting education and welfare for the youths, and was pained and concerned over the unending strike in the education sector.
“We hope for the sake of posterity, a quick and amiable resolution that will end the strike is found as soon as possible,” he said.(NAN)