June 20, 2023

Students loan scheme will enhance varsities financial stand — Don

Students loan

By Dayo Johnson, Akure

A former Vice-Chancellor of the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, Ondo State, Prof. Femi Mimiko, has said that the newly introduced student loan scheme by the Federal Government would enhance the financial stand of the nation’s universities.

Prof Mimiko noted that “the development would give the universities the opportunity to charge tuition which would consequently enhance the financial stand of the institutions.

According to him “running university education for free was no more realistic.

He said this at the 6th annual registry lecture, entitled”‘ Reform imperatives in the governance structure of tertiary institutions in Nigeria, which he delivered
at the Elizade University, Ilara Mokin, Ondo State.

Mimiko said that tuition fees in the varsities were abolished by the Federal Government in the 1970s due to the availability of much revenue from oil and
was included in the 1979 Constitution and later in the 1999 Constitution (as amended) but said the “whole initiative entered into a quandary by the time the ability of the crude oil-based economy to generate funds, due to complications associated with the global crude oil market, was greatly degraded.”

” Thus, the nation was confronted with a situation in which government could not go back to no-tuition-in- universities policy, yet is incapable of providing the needed funds to fill the gap.

“By the season of this, Nigerian public universities, especially federal universities, are now in a very peculiar situation in which proprietorial funding is receding, and the operators of the system are not permitted to charge tuition fees.

“This is why the idea of a loan scheme to be floated by the government, such as, would allow every undergraduate that requires funds to access such, to meet their tuition fees commitment, is sorely needed.

” This would afford the universities the latitude to charge for tuition, thus ensuring that they stand on a better funding pedestal.

“This is what is done in many climes. It is not realistic to pretend that university education a purely elitist concept almost everywhere – would be run for free in Nigeria.

“The consequence, as the government that decrees this arrangement continues to hold back needed funds, is the infrastructural deficit, nay decay, that currently defines the nation’s public universities.

“This imposes a duty on heads of universities in Nigeria, to do a more rigorous application of self to funding opportunities, via grants, linkages, placement of their institution on an entrepreneurial keel, development of creative academic and detached academic programmes, the types that make Harvard University a toast in human capacity development and upgrade.”

The Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Olukayode Amund, described the registry as an important part of any university.

Prof Amund asked other faculties in school to take a cue from the registry department lectures to organize their own lectures.