By Elizabeth Uwandu
VICE Chancellor, Crawford University, Professor Isaac Ajayi, has joined voices with other private universities in the country to call for the inclusion of private universities in the TETFUND scheme, as he also made it known that qualitative tertiary education cannot come cheap.
He made this known in an interview with Vanguard Learning where he called on the Federal Government to refocus on tertiary education if it was interested in growing the economy and achieving all round development.
“Tertiary education is very important to the development of any country, because that is where highly skilled manpower needed in the various sectors are produced. Tertiary education was supported by the World Bank up to the 90s but government was misadvised to shift attention to primary education. Since that time, the quality of graduates has been declining, standards have been falling. As much as I am not saying that primary and secondary education is not important to the quality of education, I believe that tertiary education is a very important aspect of nation building.
“Hence, if this country needs the kind of technocrats and skilled man power that will advance the development of the country, government must give more attention to tertiary education. Yes, government has so far been making good effort through TETFUND which is supporting a lot of public universities, to the exclusion of private universities. This exclusion, to me, is not fair because private universities are also producing graduates for the same national economy. However, there is a lot of pressure mounting on the need for government to reconsider and I am joining my voice to it. We hope it succeeds so that the fund will also be accessible by private universities.” Professor Ajayi implored.
Honing on the cost of tertiary education affecting its quality, the VC said, “Part of the problems tertiary education is facing is that people do not know that tertiary education cannot be cheap. If you want something qualitative, it cannot be cheap. Government can support indigent students but that it will be cheap for everybody, which is not right. As it is, it has become practically difficult for government to carry the responsibility of the funding.
I agree that education should be accessible to everybody, which is where the government comes in to assist those who cannot afford it. That is why people offer scholarship to indigent students, bursary also.”
“That tertiary education should be cheap, it is not sustainable, that is why we see oversubscription to many of the public universities at the expense of private universities, they have overcrowded classrooms, this in turn is too large for lecturers to handle and as such, quality is not assured, it is compromised because government has followed political will and let people pay little for the services they enjoy. Another thing is that a lot of Nigerians who can afford private universities would prefer to struggle with indigent parents for cheap schools, instead of spending money to invest in quality education.”
On Crawford University’s role in curbing societal decadence the professor disclosed; “First step is academics; we constantly deepening the integrity of our academic programs, because we are conscious that integrity matters a lot in the delivery of quality graduates. We produce first class graduates that merit it. We are ensuring integrity in our teachers; our examinations are of high standard. We ensure that teaching is done in the appropriate way.
“Our technique in handling moral challenges is to nip it in the bud. We focus on instilling discipline, we don’t compromise. We have our rules and regulations and ensure they are followed to the letter. When students come in, regardless of their background, we give them the rules and regulations handbook and the condition for all admissions is that the rules and regulation of the school must be upheld. This does mean we do not show love and affection to our students, we do, because we know that the youthful period is one filled with energy and exuberance, hence, we try to help them channel the energy the appropriate and positive way. We also try to build their character and team spirit via sports.”