By Elizabeth Osayande
The Parish Priest, St Leo Catholic Church Ikeja, Lagos, Rev John Aniagwu, has said low budget allocation to the education sector is one of the reasons university teachers embark on incessant industrial actions.
Rev. Aniagwu said this at a press conference organised to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his ordination as a priest.
Noting that Nigerian education system was once the toast of advanced world whose nationals came into the country to acquire knowledge, the Chancellor, Augustine University, Ilara-Epe, noted that the standard of education became poor due to the low value placed on it by Nigerian leaders.
“On education, Nigeria has been underperforming in all fronts, there is no exception, you can never have a developed society outside education. But quality education is expensive, government should put adequate resources in education and that is the only way out.
“The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO, has determined that for a country to develop, that country must commit at least 26 percent of its annual budget to education.
“In the last 30 years Nigeria has never budgeted 7 percent for education but they would budget 25 per cent for the National Assembly.
“The ruling class spends fortunes to educate their children abroad, while they give pastry sum to education here. That is why you have universities going on strike eveytime because the poor lecturers and workers are frustrated.
“Go to public universities and take a look at their hostels and toilets and look at the private universities you will be proud of a place like that. Students go there and they graduate within four years, there is no delay.
“Unfortunately, the fees are not within the reach of average Nigerians because if we are going to retain the kind of staff National Universities Commission, NUC, wants us to have, we have to pay them.”
“ Before 1989 if you have a first degree in Nigeria and you go to United Kingdom, UK, or the United States of America, USA, you walk into a master’s programme, a degree in Nigeria will get you that.
“But now, you have to do remedial courses before you can do a Masters degree in these countries. As they don’t regard your first degree as a degree.
“In those days Europeans and Americans use to come to Nigeria to study in Nigerian universities, but will they come now? Unless they come to the private universities,” Rev. Aniagwu explained.