CHAPTER ONE

1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

The origin of labour unionism dates back to the Eighteen Century and the industrial revolution in Europe. During this time there was a huge surge of new workers into the work place that needed representation. Labour unionism is a global phenomenon. In Nigeria, Labour unionism has been part of the industry since 1912, when government employee formed a Civil Service Union. According to Wikipedia (2015) this organization became the Nigeria union of Civil Servants after the merger of the protectorate of Northern and Southern Nigeria. In 1931, two other major unions were founded the Nigeria Railway workers union and Nigeria Union of Teachers. As workers continued to increase and need for representation rises, the need for a mother union was inevitable hence, the merger into one big or mother union which will oversee all the activities of all workers under one umberella body known as the Nigeria Labour Congress (N.L.C). As a mother body, the (N.L.C) was formally constituted as the only national federation of trade unions in Nigeria 1978.According to Silverman (2004) since its formation, the N.L.C has been a major voice for the Nigeria workers under it, and has given birth to many other Industrial Unions both in the field of health, agriculture, finance and education. Its major aim is to protect, defend and promote the right, wellbeing, interest of all workers, trade unions and pensioners in the Country and this, it has continued to achieve through its various aims and branches.

A union therefore According to oxford advanced dictionary is an organization established by and for workers to pursue collective work place goal; wage, benefits, work rules, power etc. Hence, the formation of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) as a branch of industrial (Labour) union has brought about some pronounced changes in the academic system of tertiary institutions in the Country. Seen by many as a blessing, others see it as a clog in the wheel of the Nigerian academic system and medium to discourage students. As long as the Academic Staff Union and Employer (Government) represented by politicians are at variance in belief and philosophy there is bound to be industrial disputes between the two. The action and reaction of the academic staff union (ASUU, ASUP and COEASU ) in recent years to attitude of the government towards the past agreements, conditions of service, remuneration, emoluments and entitlements as prescribed by UNESCO such as; university autonomy and integration of polytechnic academic staff had led to frequent clashes and subsequent industrial actions by ASUU, ASUP and specifically COEASU. These unions have often resolved to strike actions as the last resort to balance the power between their staff and the government when bargaining and confrontations fail to yield desired result. Implying that the only language the government at all level understands is strike.

According to Wikipedia (2015) the Union has been active in struggle against the military regime during the 1980s, when it frequently embarked on national strike to obtain fair wages and University autonomy and after several struggles and opposition by the government and agreement was reached on 3rd September 1992 that met several of the unions demand including right of workers to collective bargaining. The union organized further strike 1994 and 1990 against the dismissal of staff by the Abacha Military regime.

Disruption in academic programme becomes a natural consequence of each industrial action or strike. Hence, normal teaching and learning are stalled and therefore, most students are prone to diverse activities such as sexual immorality, cyber scan, pool betting, watching of movies, and engaging in unnecessary gossip etc, rather than reading their books and soon, they forget about academic and lose interest and focus of educational demands which in long run affects their learning capability. Learning as adduced by Wikipedia (2015) is the act of acquiring new or modifying and reinforcing existing knowledge, behaviour, skills, values, or preference and may involve synthesizing, different types of information and according to Tanner (1980) it is done under the auspices of the school.

Odubela (2012) concludes that effective learning or an enhanced performance is achieved by successful coverage of the course outline timely and before the examination. This is rarely achieved when there is strike action. Based on this, the researchers are of the opinion that disruption in academic program as caused by strike action exposes students to depression, frustration and emotional and psychological trauma, lack of preparedness on the side of the learner or student and lost of motivation which leads to societal vices and unproductiveness and non conducive learning environment in the tertiary institution in Country.Just recently, staff of A.I.F.C.E under the umbrella of COEASU embarked on a seven months strike over non-payment of migration and other demands thereby crippling academic activities and forcing the students into compulsory holidays where most of these ills were inevitable. This study therefore intends to examine the influenceof strike action on the academic performance of students.

1.2     STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

All over the world, the tertiary institution both Universities, Colleges of Education and Polytechnics also known as the Ivory towers is regarded as the bedrock of knowledge and intellectualism, and most appropriate ground for incubation of future leaders.

However, over the last thirty years in Nigeria, the University system has witnessed an unprecedented industrial unrest and so many official assaults than other social institution. Statistics from the National University Commission (2002) revealed that since 1992 the union (ASUU, and recently COEASU) has embarked on strike over 23 times to press home its demands. Just as in all Industrial Conflicts, strike have significant wider, social consequence. Many have argued that those in authority see the tertiary institutions as burden and as an institution to be exploited and left desolate. To change the impression, the union has embarked on several strike actions with the recent one that involved the Colleges of education and lasted for eight months and now more than one year after there have been economic waste, delayed graduation, unbalanced academic calendar and non-challant attitude among staff and students which in essence has resulted in poor academic input and output and lack of productivity in the society and Country at large.

This study therefore, aims at examining the influence of industrial (strike) action on the academic performance of students in tertiary institution with specific references to A.I.F.C.E Owerri.

1.3     PURPOSE OF THE STUDY

Generally, the purpose of the study is to find out how strike action influences the academic performance of student in tertiary institutions in Nigeria. Specifically it seeks to:

Ascertain the extent to which strike action influences the academic performance of students in tertiary institutions in Nigeria.

Identify the causes of strike action by the various unions in tertiary institutions in Nigeria.

Suggest possible solution to the incessant strike action in our tertiary institutions.

1.4     SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

This study will enable the stakeholders in education sector to know the extent to which frequent and prolonged strike affects the academic programmes of the students in tertiary institution. It will also help people to know why the union embark on strike. This work will encourage the students to invest their time wisely during strike to avoid poor academic out put after the strike.

The Labour Unions will benefit from this work also as it will help them to seek alternative means of pressing home their demands.The government will also learn to avert the adverse effect posed by strike action on the educational sector and the economy as a whole.

1.5       RESEARCH QUESTION

To what extent does strike action influence the academic performance of students?

What are the causes of strike action in tertiary institutions in Nigeria?

What are the possible solutions to strike actions?

1.6     SCOPE OF THE STUDY

The study would examine the influence of industrial (strike) action on the academic performance of students in tertiary institutions in Nigeria with particular reference to Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education Owerri Imo State. This study will be carried out among the six schools within the College which includes; School of Social Science, School of Art, School of Natural Science, School of General Studies School of Education, School of Agric and vocational studies respectively.



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