In a recent interview on Channels TV, the President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, addressed the alarming issue of continuous fee hikes in Nigerian universities. He issued a stern warning, emphasising that without government intervention, a significant portion of students may face insurmountable financial barriers to continuing their education within the next two years.
Osodeke shed light on the precarious state of the Nigerian education sector, attributing the potential drop in enrollment to the exorbitant fees imposed on students nationwide.
“If nothing is done about these exorbitant fees being imposed by universities across the country, in the next two or three years, over 40 to 50 per cent of the students currently enrolled will be forced to abandon their studies,” Osodeke asserted, underscoring the severity of the situation and its potential consequences for the nation.
He advocated for a return to the educational environment of the 1960s and 1970s, highlighting a time when the government provided financial support to students. Osodeke urged the government to establish a system that allows economically disadvantaged students to access education without being hindered by exorbitant fees.
Osodeke raised a pertinent question, questioning the feasibility of charging school fees as high as N300,000 when parents may earn only N50,000 a month, emphasising the glaring financial disparity.
Furthermore, Osodeke implored the government to allocate a minimum of 15 per cent of the total budget towards education. He argued that an increase in budgetary allocation would alleviate the financial burden on parents, who are currently grappling with the high costs of education for their children.
Regarding the government’s student loan policy, the ASUU president expressed scepticism about its effectiveness, suggesting that a comprehensive review is essential for its success. He proposed a shift in terminology, advocating for the term “grant” rather than “loan” to better reflect the nature of the support provided to students. This, he believes, would lead to a more effective and accessible educational financing system.