ASUU Urges Govt To Raise Varsity Funding

Osodeke

National President of, Academic Staff Union of Universities, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke and All Progressives Congress governorship candidate in Rivers State, Mr Tonye Cole, have told the Nigerian government to retain talents and increase the budgetary allocations of universities.

Speaking to our correspondent on the state of the country’s education as Nigeria celebrates its 63rd Independence anniversary on October 1, Osodeke maintained that only through the increased budgetary allocations to universities that the issue of fee increment across campuses in the country be solved or reduced.

Recently, universities across the country have increased obligatory fees astronomically, which led to several protests by students whose parents earned less than N40,000 per month and claimed it would be difficult to afford the newly introduced huge fees.

He said, “The issue of fee increment is a major issue as many students will drop out of school. Most parents will not be able to afford their children’s fees. Since the government says don’t increase fees and universities are increasing fees, they should intervene as part of their palliatives because the vice-chancellors are being pushed to the wall so they have no choice but to increase fees. “Government should increase budgetary allocations to universities so that VCs will have enough funds to run the universities.”

While describing the state of education in Nigeria at 63, he said, “It is almost collapsing; we believe that the government is supposed to revamp the education sector, both basic and tertiary levels to the standards we had in the 60s and 70s that made foreign students come here to study but the reverse is the case now. We are the ones going there for education.”

Cole specifically advised the Ministry of Education to ensure it retained talents in the country.

He said, “Specifically for the Ministry of Education, we need to ensure that we do everything to retain talents in Nigeria. We are losing so many talents. Too many people are moving abroad. We must do everything to ensure that this is done. We need to pay attention to primary and secondary school education.”

Cole described students’ inability to pay high school fees in government-owned universities as an economic challenge, saying the government should increase purchasing power by ensuring importation of goods was reduced.

He said, “This is a general economic question. And one of the challenges we have is to make sure that our purchasing power increases. To do that we have to make sure that Nigeria’s dependence on importation on all sorts of goods goes down. We must increase our export capacity. Not just exporting petroleum products but we must be able to export manufactured products globally.”

Punch

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