Mr James Emadoye, on Thursday urged the Federal Government to detach its string from the Tertiary Education system and establish an Education Loan Bank to run a fee paying system in the tertiary institutions.
Emadoye, Chairman, Parent Teachers Association (PTA ), Maryland Comprehensive Secondary School, Ikeja, Lagos made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sideline of ongoing activities to mark the schools’ 50th Anniversary.
NAN reports that activities lined up to mark the school’s anniversary commenced on Jan. 21, while the grand finale would hold on Jan. 26.
The school said it had produced about 4000 graduates within the 50 years of its existence.
The PTA Chairman was reacting to the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and how the government could forestall its occurrence.
He proposed that the system of education should be converted to a fee paying system.
“We have proposed in several fora that the system should be changed to a fee paying system and let every child in the university pay on the average of between N300, 000 to N400, 000 per session.
“It is practiced all over the world. In the USA, an average citizen pays between 9,000 dollars and 14,000 dollars while in the United Kingdom citizens pay on the average of 20,000 pounds.
“The good thing is that once you are offered admission, you will approach the bank if your parents are unable to sponsor you to obtain the loan for the payment,’’ he said.
Emadoye said 14 African countries including Ghana have adopted the fee paying education system and was enjoying a stable educational system afterwards.
He said if the proposition was adopted, Nigerian universities would run like the private universities that do not embark on strike.
According to him, the problem of the educational system at the tertiary level is as a result of its total dependent on government budgetary allocation and this must be addressed.
“The Vice-chancellors instead of being in their schools to do their primary work would have to be going to Abuja to beg for budget allocation from the National Assembly and then to the Budget office and Ministry of Education to seek releases for their schools.
“The UK had just changed its system of education again and it prescribes that once you obtain the loan to further your education, you will only start paying when you get a meaningful job that earns you about N25, 000 pounds.
“Nigerians should stop wanting everything at a free cost as this does not signal a sense of responsibility to the young generation.
“If our children know that once they graduate from the university and get a job, they will repay a loan, they will become more responsible,” he said.
Emadoye said issue of ASUU was peculiar and the government must do something to ensure that such strike never occur again, as it was unfortunate that the nation was still experiencing ASUU strike even in 2019.
He charged the government to learn from the Catholic mission who had taught good lessons on how to educate our children.
“It was unfortunate that the government had been unable to learn from the way the missions succeeded in managing and giving good education to Nigerians over the years,’’ he added.
Rev. Sis. Agnes Adepoju, the school administrator said while the proposition was laudable, there was need to consider the extremely poor Nigerians which may not still be able to access the loan and pay N300, 000 for tuition.
Adepoju said such system would only thrive in a country where the government had the interest of the masses at heart and every student was sure to get a job after graduation.
“The Nigerian population is large and already there is an alarming rate of unemployment in the country so how would such a loan be repaid if the system is adopted.
“If the fee based system is to be adopted, the amount should be relatively affordable for the poor masses,” she said.
Adepoju, however, urged the government to rather evaluate the system and fashion out other ways through which funds could be generated, either by taxes or other sources to assist the universities.
NAN recalls that ASUU hadon Nov. 5, 2018 embarked on an indefinite strike to press home some demands.
The demands included a shortfall in salaries of some Federal Universities’ workers and lecturers, earned allowances, revitalisation projects that were part of the 2009 agreement, among others.
Discussion between the government and the union toward ending the strike was at a top gear as the government recently released N163 billion to the universities from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund toward meeting their demands. (NAN)