The student union is an association of students in a particular place of education with stipulated rules / regulations to guide the operations of the association, purposely and primarily to protect and defend not only their interests but also the entire society (isah, 1991), Incontrovertibly, students’ unionism when it started was enriched and strengthened by robust debates, diplomatic maneuverings, total or passive resistance to oppressive tendencies of the college or university authorities. Indeed, those that were in the vanguard of struggle then were highly articulate, intellectually inclined and very dogged in the field but today it influence is weakened because the present day actors are found to lack skills and abilities to proactively manage the affairs of the students union. Ake (2013: p. 73
Many institutions saddled with the responsibility to educate and raise innovative youths are in deplorable conditions of infrastructure and poor Environment this includes Class rooms, laboratory, electricity, hostel, health centre, Environment, Food restaurant Waste management. Etc. this has come to play due to corruption, inadequate funding by Government and Negligence of Institution’s Management.
Also Academic content being delivered and style of delivering it in our Institutions has gone obsolete and it is not equipping the students for the world of work, Nigerian Graduates have been declared half baked or unemployable by 95% of recruitment firms in a recent survey.
A huge responsibility then lies on the elected student’s leader to strategically engage the Stakeholders in educational sector and advocate for improved funding and better infrastructures in our Institutions, so we can have good education environment and food in our institutions.
It is alarming to say lack of effective capacity and skills among elected student’s leaders to SPEAK UP AND ACT RIGHT has hindered them from carrying out this assignment effectively.
Nigerian higher institutions in recent times have been noted for disruptions in their academic calendars, death of students, violence and destruction of existing facilities, due to the unskillful way the student’s leaders try to attend to issues that bother them, while some have been silenced, politicized, corrupt, and others involve in wasteful spending or running a visionless tenure.
Lead initiative identified this problem and came up with project sledt which has this objective:-
To equip student’s leaders from 20 institutions with skills needed for enhanced productivity. Also for strategic engagement of stakeholders in the Education sector for better policies and funding of this sector before year 2021.
Project sledt has been on for the past two years and it is in two stages: – Training and Tournament
- We conduct the l.e.a.d training curriculum annually for newly elected student’s leaders in Nigerian Tertiary Institutions to develop their operational skills and enhance their productivity. Between (May 2014 and May 2016) we have trained and worked with 2 set of students leaders from 19 Institutions, each comprising of 50 delegates.
- Sledt creates healthy competition among student’s leaders with an annual leadership productivity debate tournament to facilitate best practice sharing, keep them on their toes, and make them accountable to each other. (Each Institution sends 4 principal officers of the Students Union to participate in the best Practice sharing Tournament, the last one held May 2016.
The learning’s of this training which is Leadership, Empowerment, Advocacy, Communication skills development, Importance of safe environment and healthy food. opportunities has developed the capacities of these leaders and has guided them through their yearly tenures from 2014 till date.
There has been continuity in projects being handled by 3tenures of students leaders in this Institutions.
The Institutions have had stable academic calendar and more infrastructures have been added to what use to exist on their Campuses due to the proactive advocacy of the trained students leaders.
Interestingly some of these students’ leaders have acquired land from the Institution management to invest in organic School Gardens and waste Conversion to organic Manure which will be operated by employed staff and volunteering students.