Amid the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, experts in the education sector have called on the government and other stakeholders to develop alternate funding plans for public universities as quickly as possible.
The experts noted that there was a need for such alternate funding plans so as to remove the strain on the government and better the situation of things in the nation’s university system.
Some of the experts who spoke to journalists include a former Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Uyo, UNIUYO, Professor Ini Uko.
Uko said, “Let the students be made to pay something more than they are paying now so that the universities can run without ASUU shouting again.
“Let all the stakeholders sit down and decide how we can run the system properly, otherwise what will happen later, especially now that ASUU will no longer talk again; our people here are saying they will no longer complain about the ways universities are being run again.
“Let the government sit down and decide the role they want to play and the role the parents should also play. For the poor parents and students, let there be a window for them in terms of loan schemes; if not, we will be in for something very funny. With the way new universities are also being added, we need to work more.
“But if the government is insisting that they want to fund the universities 100 per cent, they must set aside a trust fund like the one in Norway, which has a trust fund where the crude oil earnings go into. So, we need to put preparations in place to make the way we run our universities sustainable.”
Another educationist, Dr Dipo Awojide, said, “The model for funding the higher education sector that we have used since the 1980s has largely failed. It has not been sustainable and this is one of the reasons the Academic Staff Union of Universities has gone on strike repeatedly in the last 40 years.
“We need to do things differently going forward. Full autonomy for all our federal universities should be considered. Investments in real estate, grants from the government, philanthropy from individuals and industry partners, endowment from alumni, research grants and tuition from students are different revenue generating sources that can be considered by all federal universities in Nigeria.”
But a professor at the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba, Victor Olumekun, disagreed with Uko and Awojide.
“I am never in support of the government abdicating its responsibility to the nation. If you don’t spend on education for national development, what else? Funding of education by the government must be a priority,” Olumekun stated.