President Bola Tinubu has expressed disappointment with university lecturers over their criticisms of the students’ loan scheme instead of offering advice on how it could be better managed in their respective institutions.
He, however, vowed that the government would not be deterred by their criticism, saying that there was no going back because the government was not ready to compromise on a good standard of education.
Mr Tinubu said this at the weekend during the 8th convocation ceremony of the Federal University, Oye Ekiti (FUOYE), held at the university campus.
The President, who was represented by the Deputy Senate President, Jibrin Barau, described his administration as a listening one. He said this was what made it to consider the submissions of relevant stakeholders in the education sector, leading to the cancellation of the policy of automatic deduction of 40% universities Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
According to him, the government decided to yield to pressure to cancel the policy of automatic deduction of 40% of universities’ IGR, to allow the universities to breathe.
“In June 2023, we approved the Student Loan Scheme to make the accessibility of quality education incontestable. Following this announcement, there was a baffling response from several quarters on the credibility and workability of the scheme, to the government’s amazement.
“One thing that should be known is that education is not cheap anywhere in the world. This government is not ready to endorse education that will not advance the nation. Student loan schemes are not rocket science initiatives, they are designed to grant access to all who are willing and who know the value of education in a way to take the burden off numerous individuals and communities who may have been intervening painfully in sending their wards to school,” he said.
Mr Tinubu stressed that he expected scholars to advise the government on how best the scheme could be managed in their respective institutions rather than cast aspersions on the idea.
He assured all stakeholders in the education sector to expect more interventions, noting that some will be painful while some will be immediately reassuring.
He urged other universities to take a cue from FUOYE on subscription figures and carrying capacity, which he said beats all others in its generation as well as that of a good number of older-generation Universities.
In his remarks at the occasion, the Ekiti State Governor, Biodun Oyebanji, called on universities in the country to prioritise research efforts aimed at tackling critical challenges confronting the nation. He also tasked them with producing graduates who are solution providers.
The governor emphasised the urgent need for homegrown solutions to Nigeria’s diverse challenges, stressing the importance of equipping students with practical skills and real-world experience through hands-on learning and industry partnership.
Similarly, the Chancellor of FUOYE and Attah of Igala, Matthew Opaluwa Oguche, in his address, lent his voice to the call for more funding for universities to be able to fulfil their statutory roles more efficiently.
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