Background of the Study

Tertiary institutions are very essential for growth and development of any nation. The role of tertiary institutions in human capital development, research and technological innovation cannot be under emphasized. Investment in tertiary institutions is an effort considered to be essential for the growth and development of individual and nation at large. The role of tertiary institutions in manpower such as engineers, doctors; teachers among others cannot be overemphasized. The National Policy on Education (2004) earlier admits that tertiary institutions are responsible for the national development by; intensifying and diversifying its programmes for the development of high level manpower within the context of the needs of the nation. Tertiary institutions are responsible of equipping students with both physical and intellectual skills for recipients to be self- reliant and useful members of the society. The strategic position of education in nation-building forced the federal government to draw up a National Policy on Education which bestowed tertiary institutions (Universities, Colleges of Education and Polytechnics) with the responsibility of producing competent and efficient manpower for the country (Suleiman, 2013).

There is no doubt that achieving these objectives depends on stability of school calendar as affirmed by Isangedighi (2007) and Iheanacho (2002) who reported that effective learning is achieved when students are emotionally and psychologically stable. However, tertiary institutions that are conferred with the training of manpower requirements in Nigeria have embarked on series of prolong strikes, in 2013 and 2014. These strikes actions embarked by Academic Staff Unions of Universities, Colleges of Education and Polytechnics swallowed almost one year of academic study. The prolong strikes left academic activities of tertiary institutions disjointed, kept students out of school and slow down students learning spirit upon resumption. According to Edinyang and Ubi (2013), the strike actions have paralyzed academic activities of all higher institutions in the country. The persistent and prolong strikes have generated a lot of emotional and psychological instability on students which causes setbacks in educational sector that disrupt the learning habit, commitment and concentration of students in schools. The situation is frustrating as it affects students’ preparedness for examination, depressed the quality of students which will eventually lead to half-baked school graduates.

Strike is known as the period for which workers as a result of disagreement with their employers decide to with-hold or with draw their services. Ohiwerei and Omo-Ojugo (2008) opined that conflict has acquired varied meanings as a result of its uses in many different disciplines. It may be used to refer to disputes in a war to the personal choice of a television program. This research is concerned with organizational conflict and uses the term in reference to all types of opposition or antagonistic interaction. Conflict in the organization can usually be viewed as antagonistic interaction or antagonistic psychological relations. According to Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (2010) strike is a period of time when an organized group of employees of a company stops working because of disagreement over pay or conditions. Ohiwerei and Omo-Ojugo (2008) stated the following as subject for which strike could be inevitable: negotiation, procedural matters, probationary period of service, disciplinary procedure, principles of redundancy, professional examinations, various unpaid claims, staff loan, pension and gratuity scheme; salaries and wages, leave, acting allowance, inconveniences allowance, out of station expenses, medical scheme, sickness benefit.

Presently, education in Nigeria has not been able to achieve the noble objective because it is in deep problems. Paramount among these problems is the incessant of strike, which has often disrupted academic activities. Many reasons can be seen responsible for these incessant strikes. Prominent among those problems are those of funding, lacks of autonomy and dehumanizing working conditions in trying to find a lasting solution to these problems, the long commission set up by the federal government recommended in their report a 90% funding level for next fifteen years 1992-2007. The recommendations were adopted in the agreement between the federal government of Nigeria and the staff unfortunately government reneged on the agreement. For instance, funding in 1996 should have been four times more than what was prescribed by the report but fell short of this expectation because of government attitude towards funding education. The economic down turn and the foreign exchange rates did not help matters. Judging from the economic down turn, the review of the agreement which government bluntly turned down. Folioing this there has been several strikes action by the Nigerian Union of Teachers since then this situation was further aggravated by the way government reacted to NUTS strike action. Instead of engaging in meaningful dialogue with the teachers, the governments sacked some and even went as far as forcefully ejecting them from their official quarters.

In addition to the humiliation, government refused to pay them their salaries and other entitlement. As a result of this, most teachers left for the private sectors while some others went to private schools in search of greener pastures. Some student’s looks to crime, while others also secured temporary employments and yet others get involve in street hawking and became juvenile delinquents. The consequence of these strike action has led to a condition fall in education standard.

The conflict between the federal government and teachers has been occurring intermittently in some state secondary schools following from this, it becomes pertinent that a lasting solutions be formed through a comprehensive research on the effect of strike on the academic standard of students. This work intends to do this by drawing government attention to the various steps to be taken in order to eliminate these problems once and for all.

Odubela  (2012)  concluded  that  an  effective  learning  or  an  enhanced  academic  performance  is achieved by successful covering of the course outline timely and before the examination. This is rarely achieved with strike action in place. From the above review therefore, the researcher is of  the  view  that  disruption  in  academic  program  as  caused  by  strike  action  breeds disappointment, frustration, emotional  and psychological trauma, unpreparedness on the part of the students and  lack of motivation, which sum up to non conducive environment for effective learning in Nigerian universities; a situation that dampens human development.

However, little attention is given to the effects of Industrial constant strikes on the academic performance of students in Nigerian universities. This study therefore intends to examine the series of Industrial strikes and the direct effects it has on the students’ grade point average.

By allowing the university teachers to embark on an indefinite strike before opening any serious dialogue with their union, an erroneous impression is created that the government is impervious to dialogue and negotiations and that the only language it understands is strong-arm tactics – militancy in the Niger Delta or paralysing strike and other organised labour. Therefore a major lesson from the strike is the yawning absence of any institutionalized mechanism for industrial arbitration in the country. The government appeared even confused over which of its ministries the Ministry of Education or the Ministry of Labour should negotiate. Not only is it embarrassing that a government cannot be trusted to keep its words, the lack of institutionalized mechanism for dealing with the incessant labour disputes in Nigeria is worrisome.

While there are sympathies for staff over the government’s shabby handling of the situation, the lecturers, by their incessant strikes that frequently disrupt the academic calendar, are now seen as part of the problems of higher education in the country. Since its formation in 1978, staff has had running battles with every government of the day, mostly over bread-and butter issues that are conveniently camouflaged under the veneer of fighting for better funding for education (Adibe, 2009). During the period of strike, students, as a result of their idleness and frustration, engage in deviant behavior like robbery, arson, rape, touting and constitute nuisance to the society. When they are apprehended, their academics are abruptly truncated. In the years past, the country had been made to suffer immense loss of brains to other countries. It is still happening, as a result of their search for greener pastures. With this marginal loss, few remaining ones are inadequate to build up the academic performance of the students (Obasanjo, 2000). Learning in Universities has been made irregular as students may have forgotten what they have learnt before the disruption of an academic session upon their resumption to school. Memory is lost if what is being learnt is not reactivated over time. Statistical reports have shown that majority of failures in University are recorded in examinations taken immediately after students return from a long break. The situation witnessed in the University academics has resulted in the turning out of half-baked graduates into the labor market. These half-baked produced cannot live up to expectation in their various chosen professions. This is as a result of poor learning necessitated by poor services from aggrieved lecturers. Students have developed lack of interest in academics because of the usual long stay away from school; instead they indulge in frivolous activities (Adeniran, 2000). Contributory to this, is the fact that the condition in which many of these students learn in some of the university is deplorable. Strikes are not homogenous industrial events to the extent that they involve cessation of work, a breakdown in the flow of consent and open expression of aggression and remain a social phenomenon or enormous complexity, which, in its totality is never susceptible to complete description, let alone complete explanation (Gouldner, 2014). The strike is therefore of many varieties, which may involve all the workers or only key men. The following are one of the commonest forms: Wildcat strikes, Sit down, sympathy, constitutional and unconstitutional strikes, official and unofficial strikes.

The wildcat strike is so called because no reason or notice is given to the employer before embarking on it. Thus, it is in violation of the contract and not authorized by the union. Sit down strikes differ from the sit-ins, because sit downs do not necessarily involve the takeover of the company’s assets and its management by the workers. Other than this, and like sit-ins, sit down strike involve workers in being present at work but not necessarily working. Workers organization (trade union) and industrial conflict are related, Union members are more likely to strike than organized workers (Comte, 1997). The economic model view strikes as bargaining outcomes. Workers’ collective actions to them depend on mobilization of labor organization of some population as resources on behalf of the group’s common objectives. They both believed that the mobilization or organizational capacity for collective action of workers (measured by union’s membership) would be the most powerful prediction of strike. Other factors that may cause strike includes dissatisfaction with wages, bad social condition, fatigue and frustration at work, and the discontent and aggressiveness that can come from a general feeling of inferiority (Olaiya, 2000).


Statement of the Problem

Colleges of Education worldwide is regarded as the citadel of knowledge, the fountain of intellectualism, the most appropriate ground for the incubation of leaders of tomorrow. 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.

As with all Industrial conflicts, strikes have significant wider social consequences. Many have argued that those in authorities see universities as a burden and as institutions to be exploited and left desolate. To arrest the situation, Industrial have went on Industrial actions several times with the recent one in 2013 lingering for more than 6 months. There  is  hardly  a  full  academic session that student and staff crises will not result in loss of studies, delayed graduation for students and economic waste for students, parents and the country as a whole.

However, little attention is given to the effects of Industrial constant strikes on the academic performance of students in Nigerian universities. This study therefore intends to examine the series of Industrial strikes and the direct effects it has on the students’ grade point average.

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Updated: 23rd May 2018 — 11:00 pm