ASUU President’s Warning on University Fees
Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, the President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), has issued a dire warning about the escalating university fees in Nigeria.
He cautioned that if the Nigerian government does not intervene to halt the arbitrary increase in fees, up to 50 percent of students in public universities could drop out within the next two years.
Potential Consequences of Mass Dropout
Osodeke went further to express concern that these students who drop out of universities may become willing tools in the hands of individuals seeking to destabilize the country.
This alarming prediction raises concerns about the already complex security challenges facing Nigeria.
Recent Surge in University Fees
At the beginning of the new academic year, numerous universities in Nigeria implemented substantial fee hikes ranging from 100 to 200 percent.
These universities attributed the fee increases to insufficient government funding for tertiary education and the country’s high inflation rate, which exceeds 22 percent.
Examples of Fee Increases
Some universities, like the Federal University, Dutse, announced a staggering 200 percent hike in fees.
The University of Maiduguri increased fees for various courses, with medical students facing significant spikes.
The University of Lagos also faced protests from students over tuition fee increases.
Limited Impact of Student Protests
Despite student protests, fee reductions were limited, indicating that universities may be compelled to raise fees due to external financial pressures.
Many Nigerian universities receive meager monthly allocations from the government, making it challenging to maintain quality education.
A Call for Adequate Funding
Naija News emphasizes the need for a substantial increase in government funding for education in Nigeria.
The current budget allocation for the education sector is only 3.8 percent, leading to declining educational standards.
Revisiting Affordable Education
The article highlights the importance of restoring affordable education and ensuring equal educational opportunities for all Nigerians.
The rising fees in public universities contradict the constitutional mandate of providing adequate and equal educational opportunities.
Investing in Human Capital Development
The government is urged to invest in human capital development to benefit from a well-educated workforce.
This investment has been a key factor in the success of countries like India, Singapore, and China.
Corporate organizations are also encouraged to contribute to funding tertiary institutions as part of their corporate social responsibility.
ASUU President’s Plea
The ASUU President underscores the significance of creating an educational environment where children from economically disadvantaged backgrounds can access quality education.
This approach is essential for the country’s development and future prosperity.
The Role of Corporate Entities
Corporate organizations are called upon to establish endowment programs and support tertiary institutions as part of their responsibility to nurture future employees and contribute to the development of the nation.