The pro-chancellors said that the university system must enjoyed full autonomy to be repositioned for global competitiveness in the 21st century.
The Committee of Pro-Chancellors of Federal Universities on Friday called for the introduction of tuition fees in federal universities tosupport funding of the universities.
This is contained in a communiqué signed by Kimse Okoko, chairman of the committee, in Abuja.
The Pro-Chancellors decried the resistance to introduce tuition in some universities by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU,and Students’ Union Government.
According to the committee, the resistance is based on the argument that the introduction of tuition may take university education beyond the reach of the poor.
It stated that the argument can be addressed by reviving avenues for financing indigent students including the revival of the student loansschemes, bursaries and scholarship, education bank, among other initiatives.
The communiqué also stated that students who could afford to pay should be allowed to do so.
Though federal universities do not charge tuition fees, students pay for several other fees which are sometimes considered expensive and have led to protests by students and staff.
The committee also stressed the need to reposition the Nigerian public universitysystem for global competitiveness in the 21st century, adding that increase funding was critical to achieve the repositioning.
The pro-chancellors said that government could not single-handedly fund the university system and pull it out of its current state of ro in spite of its best efforts and intentions.
The communiqué resolved that universities must explore new sources of funding, such as grants from local and multilateral agencies and joint venture investments.
It also urged the universities to explore facilities in the capital market, endowments, research for industries, and alumni endowments,among others.
The pro-chancellors urged universities to be more entrepreneurial in their operations and leverage on their areas of comparative advantageto partner with industries in their localities.
“The university councils should endeavour to work within the present constraints to initiate new directions, working within the laws thatestablished them,” it stated.
It further urged government to boost the internally-generated revenue
of universities and enhance their relevance.
The committee advised governments to patronise university departments and consultancy services in the execution of contracts and to involve universities in collaborative research with
potential to directly impact on national development.
It also advised universities’ councils to take steps to increase their internally-generated revenue from 10 per cent to 30 per cent as an initial strategic initiative.
The pro-chancellors association said that the university system must enjoy full autonomy to be repositioned for global competitiveness in the 21st century.
It stated that such autonomy would enable the councils of universities to initiate steps capable of transforming the nation’s universitysystem.
The pro-chancellors also stressed the need for universities to invest in their host communities to ensure harmonious relationship with thesecommunities. (NAN)