… if anyone will not work let him not eat. For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but as busybodies. 2Thess 3: 10b – 11
Strike is an ill-wind that blows no one any good. The period of strike is always a period of breakdown in society; economically, educationally, administratively and even morally. When civil and other public servants are on strike, economic and administrative functions are grounded and sometimes totally paralyzed. This paralysis is also evident in the educational sector when teachers are on strike too.
The traumatic effects of strikes are often times unimaginable because all sorts of ills and negative attributes are usually exhibited by various segments of the society. However, our discussion here centers on how students, who are usually the worst hit during academic strike, can cope with the ugly situation whenever there is a strike in the institutions of learning. It should be noted that the nature of strike that adversely affects students most is that embarked upon by the teaching (or academic) staff. Consequently, the educational institutions, whether primary, secondary or tertiary are closed down and the students are forced to stay at home.
When students are at home, they are exposed to various kinds of negative influences and behaviors. They keep unwholesome companies and may even engage in all manner of nefarious activities. Some of the adolescent/adult male students engage in armed robbery, gangsterism, mercenary activities, raping and all other immoral and uncivil actions. In the same vein, some of the adolescent/adult female students use this idle time for emergency prostitution, eloping and abscondment, unending weekend travels, and other forms of gallivanting. However, as Christian students, none of the above attributes should be found in you. It is therefore necessary that certain profitable activities, be they economic, educational or even social should be engaged upon by Christian students as a means of coping and utilizing the idle time.
Coping strategies abound and they can be broadly classified into three;
- Skills Acquisition Programmes
- Income Generation Activities
- Consultancy Services.
1. SKILLS ACQUISITION PROGRAMMES
Fashion Designing: During strike periods, instead of remaining idle at home, our Christian students should endeavor to learn certain roles or acquire unique skills that are particularly genders sensitive. For example, some may engage in fashion designing or dress-making. They could attach themselves to established practitioners in the tailoring field to acquire such skills. These skills are bound to help them later in life to become self-actualized, confident and self-fulfilled mothers and wives.
Hair-Dressing or Plaiting: Other Christian sisters can learn hair dressing as a vocation.
Note that hair dressing is of different categories. There is also the plaiting of hair and its treatment. The male students may even decide to learn hair-cutting during the days of inactivity due to strike. Definitely, hair dressing or cutting in campuses is a highly lucrative business so that anyone that is proficient at it will attract enough clients and make some good money.
Computer Training: We are now in the Computer or Information Technology age. In the next few years, almost every activity will be computerized and therefore computer-based. Any one who is not computer literate will be considered an illiterate irrespective of his/her academic qualifications because he/she will hardly fit into most of the economic or social activities. Every student, both male and female, are advised to register with computer training schools where they can become computer literate and could even go further to utilize the computer to solve all forms of problems. The book industry, the print media, the electronic media and other services now require people who are proficient in the use and manipulation of computers. Such skills are invaluable to those who possess them.
Photography/Video Coverage: This is another economic activity that attracts honest income to a student. The female/male student could use the period of strike to acquire skills of photography and/or video coverage. It is such a lucrative hobby and cheap to start because you don’t need to own the photographic or video camera before handling jobs. Infact, there are provisions for the hiring of cameras until you are able to purchase yours. Campuses are usually full of religious and social activities that would need to be covered either by video or still camera, whether solicited for by the client or not. And depending on your performance, skill and quality of production, you might get unprecedented bookings and requests.
Industrial Attachment: During strike periods, students can get attached to companies that are directly or even indirectly related to their course of study. No knowledge is wasted and practical knowledge is easily understood and reproduced than theoretical knowledge. Money is important but it is not the first item that a student should consider when trying to get engaged in a company. The practical knowledge gained and contacts known through the job would become invaluable to the student when he/she graduates and decides to either seek employment or get set up as an entrepreneur.
2. INCOME GENERATION SERVICES
Students can also learn how to bake cakes and other pastries. Celebrations and social events have become a part of our lives so the students can be assured always of patronage and should use the time to advertise his/her income-generating skills. Also, he/she can seek employment for the income instead of staying idle at home. The students can also engage in local drink production. For example, the production of soybean milk or ‘zobo’ are funds-attracting ventures that do not need much capital except time. And time is what the student does have during strike. These drinks can be produced and supplied to shops, market stalls, super-market and even during functions. They should just be kept chilled.
3. CONSULTANCY SERVICES
If the strike coincides with the holiday period of secondary schools, then a student can organize extra mural lessons. A number of students in different academic disciplines may decide to pools their resources together and establish a lecture center. Venues range from schools to open spaces to uncompleted/unused buildings to churches. So long as the core subjects will be covered, secondary school students will patronize the center. And even if the strike period comes up when secondary schools are in session, some students could be identified, and with the permission of their parents, given the lectures in their deficient academic areas and of course all for pay.
In summary, students should avoid being idle at home during long periods of strikes. Remember, an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. When students occupy themselves fully, they will discover that they will be free from boredom, aggressive tendencies, social vices, lack of directions and other maladies usually associated with an idle mind and body. Students can either engage in income generation activities, skills acquisition or consultancy services. When the strike is called off or suspended and every student is called back to campus they can be glad that they have either learned a new skill, earned extra income or both!