Economic Hardship: Nigerian Universities under serious Threat —Elizade University VC, Prof Ijadunola

PRESS RELEASE

VICE-CHANCELLOR, ELIZADE UNIVERSITY, IJADUNOLA, SAYS NIGERIAN UNIVERSITIES UNDER THREAT

The Vice-Chancellor of Elizade University, Professor Kayode Thadius Ijadunola has advised the Federal Government to urgently come up with a creative way of tackling the nation’s economic downturn as a means of safe-guarding the future of Nigerian youths.

The Vice-Chancellor who chaired the maiden edition of Elizade University Bursary Lecture said it is very clear that University Education in Nigeria is under serious threat not on account of content but on account of the negative impact of a depressed economy.

He said but for TETFUND, many Public Universities in Nigeria would have closed shops; and for the Private Universities, the economy had become hostile.

The Bursar of Elizade University, Mr. Samuel Olusegun Ajeigbe observed that the Nigerian economy is groaning as it is bedeviled by damaging Naira depreciation, hyper-inflation which is the highest in about 28years.

He said serious financial challenges in the country has led to sharp drop in student enrolment, increasing voluntary withdrawals, high cost of running alternative power sources, alongside the larger society problem of high level of unemployment, kidnappings, insurgencies and high level of insecurity.

The Guest Lecturer, Vice-Chancellor of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), Professor Smaranda Olarinde whose lecture dwelled on Financial Challenges in the Nigerian University Sector in a volatile and uncertain economy said appropriate cutting-edge technology and the use of Artificial Intelligence must be deployed in management in the University system.

She observed the cost of University education is fast increasing, making a single source of funding unrealistic and unsustainable even as government budget for education in Nigeria is ridiculously low at 6.39% of the total budget against UNESCO irreducible minimum benchmark recommendation of 15%.

Professor Olarinde lamented that a lot of highly qualified Nigerian Youths are being wasted and denied University Education.

According to her, statistics show that only 19.5% of candidates are offered admission into Medicine, Surgery and Health Sciences out of those qualified.

This, she said is the fall-out of poor funding of University education in Nigeria.The ABUAD Vice-Chancellor pleaded passionately that the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) must be made to extend to other Private Universities.

Professor Olarinde described the current situation as TETFUND injustice to Private Institutions which she argued would have helped to reduce fees in Private Schools, assist in infrastructural development and also enable Private Institutions to take in more students at reduced fees.

The University Don noted that there is no justification for the exclusion of Private Universities as beneficiaries of TETFUND which derives its funding from taxes collected from both public and private companies, adding that whereas “Private Universities which play crucial role in expanding access to tertiary quality education are denied any benefits from TETFUND”.

The ABUAD Vice-Chancellor, Olarinde, who is a Professor of Law said the funding of University is capital intensive, therefore, access to TETFUND is pivotal for the sustainability of any University and thereby called for the amendment of TETFUND Act 2011, giving the fact that bulk of its revenue is derived from private sector of Nigeria’s economy. She praised the Bursary Department of Elizade University for putting together the lecture which is the first in the series.

According to Professor Olarinde, a robust higher education system, where both public and private institutions thrive calls for equitable treatment in access to funding as Private Universities are not competitors to public ones; rather they complement government efforts in providing more quality education opportunities for young Nigerians.

Signed
Williams Olufunmi
Head, Public Relations.

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