A Report discussing Rise in Unemployment, Poor Underfunding of Public Education, and the Way out of Capitalism

Bestman Michael

The students and youth wing of the Movement for a Socialist Alternative (MSA) under the banner of the Campaign for Students and Youth Rights, a platform set to intervene in both students’ and youths’ struggles in the coming period put together a Twitter space programme to discuss a way out of the current economic crisis caused by capitalist policies of the Buhari regime.

In the last few years, the growing unemployment crises and the underfunding of public education have drastically increased. By increasing, it means more people, especially working-class families are victims of crises they never created: violence, poverty, unemployment, inflation, and all other related whatnots that are caused by the system of capitalism. 

The theme, however, was “Education & the Growing Unemployment Crises: What way forward for students and youths?” It featured five speakers: Daniel Akande, member of MSA; Soneye Azeez, former SUG president, TASUED; Oyediwura Adedayo, NASU Chairman (OAU); Damilare Adenola, National Coordinator of Fund Education Coalition; and Idowu Babafemi, SUG president of Osun College of Education. 

In the discussion, which started with Idowu Babafemi, he highlighted the essence of a theme as this in this current state of degenerating crises. Pointing to the ASUU strike, he said that the problem of public education has been a long issue and its years of underfunding have affected even how education is supposedly perceived by undergraduates, graduates, or even those yet to be admitted. 

In his words, the government have been irresponsible in dealing with matters that concern the ordinary people. Rather, they have only subjected themselves to looting and exploiting the vast majority for their selfish interest. This demonstration, for him, is a reason education is left at the threshold of death and the government cut funding it. And, the same goes for the rising unemployment crisis in the country. 

Daniel Akande’s contribution offers a perspective that links the unemployment and education crises to the capitalist system. He pointed to the series of the budget released since the Buhari regime and said education has largely had little or no better allocation as against the 26% UNESCO’s recommendation. For him, both public education and Unemployment crises are interrelated.

While students experience poor learning, infrastructural, and unconducive environments; hikes in tuition fees; substandard classrooms; and a whopping ratio of teachers to students in the country, the crises linger even after they graduate. Hence, the growing unemployment crisis, which in turn is a case for social violence, animalistic traits, and so on. The way forward, while he summed up, is to organise and fight the system of Capitalism. 

Soneye Azeez spoke extensively on how capitalism has built an illusion among the rank-and-file working-class youth, who have lost hope in Nigeria and sought greener pastures through migration. He said the poor funding of education has a root in the neo-liberal and socio-economic policies adopted and practised by the government where the majority of the commanding sectors of the economy are placed in the hands of a few individuals.

The implications of these acts are enough to render public education useless as the government does not believe in free and quality education. He mentioned how historically the reason behind the formation of ANSA and the series of demands both students, youths, and working-class families have demanded from a government that does not feed their interests. In his words, “you cannot feed the few”.
Feeding the few is tantamount to leaving a large chunk of the populace to hunger, starvation, and inaccessibility to free & quality education and employment benefits. He said this is why the Academic Staff and Non-Academic Staff in universities as well as Students struggle is vital and should be unifying at every point to engage the Government’s policy of attacking public education. 

The speaker also pointed out how the examination of the 2023 election is vital. Saying that a critical look into the manifestoes of Tinubu, Atiku, and Peter Obi, they are all the same: sell the public asset, privatise, or commercialise it. Other contributions from Adams Lateef and Abibat Jimoh highlighted the need for organising within the different places of strength and to extend such initiative into a physical public symposium and meeting.

Of course, they both clarify the illusion being promoted by politicians for government to adopt the so-called USA model of “students loan” and fee increments as a standard for education. It was Lateef who spoke about how in the US, most students are turned debtors and are yet to fully pay the student loan as accumulated debt. While Biden’s government wanted to forgive those loans, the court has ordered a halt to Joe Biden’s student loan relief program.

This situation shows how capitalism sees individuals as a commodity. All these show that in the US, privatisation and the hub of capitalism strive and have affected or placed many students or working-class homes in so much debt they can’t repay. He extended this illusion to Nigeria where he spoke about the agenda of the regime to sell public assets due to a budget deficit. This will only further put the country in a flood of crises as currently experiencing a high cost of living, inflation, and so on. 

In the end, a total of 50 persons tuned in to participate in the Twitter space meeting. It was an elaborate discussion that inspired those who attended. Though there were a few technical challenges, however, the space meeting recorded a huge success. Every person that joined the meeting is from the perspective of organising to change the narrative. MSA uses this background to urge persons to join the MSA, visit its website: https://socialistmovementng.org/ and let’s organise together. 

Solidarity songs concluded the two-hour and thirty minutes Campaign for Students and Youth Right Space Meeting.