June 17, 2024

AASU seeks urgent action to make education affordable in Africa

Breaking: State institutions to benefit from student loan scheme — FG 

…hails Tinubu, Dangote, others efforts

By Joseph Erunke, Abuja

The All-Africa Students’ Union, AASU, has called for urgent action to make education in Africa affordable and accessible for all.

This is as the continental students body commended President Bola Tinubu’s Student Loan Scheme and tasked African private sectors to follow the example set by Nigeria’s Dangote Group, the Africa’s second-largest contributor to education after the Nigerian government.

AASU President, Osisiogu Osikenyi Enyinnaya,said these in his passionate address to mark the 2024 Africa Students’ Day.

The event, held in Nigeria’s capital,Abuja, commemorated the sacrifices of students who fell victim to the Soweto massacre on June 16, 1976, while protesting against educational injustice in apartheid South Africa.

Highlighting the escalating costs of higher education, Enyinnaya pointed out that university students are now expected to fork out an average of $3,000 in fees annually.

“Institutions of Higher Learning in Africa have gone on a spree of fee hike with little or no palliative for students,” he lamented.

In response to this crisis, Enyinnaya applauded Nigeria’s President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for signing the Students Loan Bill into law and establishing an Education Bank.

He also praised similar initiatives by other African governments that provide relief to indigent students.

Despite Africa’s economic growth averaging 4.3 percent GDP rise, education remains underfunded by governments across the continent.

The AASU president urged for more efficient use of public expenditure on education and called for innovative financing solutions, including public-private partnerships and private sector involvement.

In a stirring call to action, Enyinnaya urged African private sectors to follow the example set by Nigeria’s Dangote Group.

As Africa’s second-largest contributor to education after the Nigerian government, Dangote Group invests $24 million annually into Nigeria’s educational sector.

This includes infrastructural support to tertiary institutions, donations like the BUK Business School and Aliko Dangote Business Complex at the University of Ibadan Business School, as well as scholarships and remuneration for lecturers.

The AASU commended the Africa’s wealthiest person for his philanthropy in education, health, and empowerment. “We hereby laud the large-heartedness of Africa’s wealthiest person especially for prioritizing his philanthropic works,” Enyinnaya stated.

As delegates from across the continent gathered in Abuja, there was a collective resolve to ensure that education in Africa is fit for the challenges of the 21st century – equitable, innovative, and above all, accessible to every student.