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Private varsities, Minister brainstorm over ETF

By Gabriel Enogholase
BENIN—A MEETING between pro-chancellors and vice-chancellors of private universities and the Minister of Education, Dr. Sam Egwu, scheduled for Abuja today is expected to deliberate on the lingering issue of allowing private universities to access the Education Trust Fund (ETF).

Operators of private universities in the country have been querying the propriety of denying them the benefit of accessing the Fund since its source of funds was mainly from tax-payer’s money.

The  Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Igbinedion University, Okada, near Benin, Prof. Tonye Grace-Okorie, dropped hint of today’s meeting between the Minister and operators of private universities while briefing journalists at Okada yesterday on the occasion of the university’s 7th convocation scheduled for next Saturday.

Prof. Okorie, who stood in for the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Eghosa Osaghae, explained that the biggest challenge facing the university was finance.

She further explained that the university was being single-handedly funded by its proprietor, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion, the Esama of Benin, insisting that the university’s only avenue of finance was through school fees.

She explained that the issue of ensuring that private universities had access to the ETF was still being pursued by private universities, saying the issues will form part of the matters to be discussed at today’s meeting with the Minister of Education.

Prof. Okorie disclosed that during this weekend’s convocation of the Igbinedion University, 17 first class degrees would be awarded to deserving graduates, out of the total 702 students expected to graduate on that day.

She disclosed that three eminent Nigerians, Dr. Yayale Ahmed, Secretary to Government of the Federation, Dr. Muhammed Danjuma Goje, Governor of Gombe State, and Sir David Osunde, would be conferred with honorary doctorate degrees.

Prof. Okorie announced that the convocation would kick-off Friday with a lecture, titled: “Transforming the Nigerian Economy Through Entrepreneurship” to be delivered by the Director-General, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and former Vice-President, African Development Bank, Ms Arunma Oteh.

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