Nigeria's Economy Raises Concerns, Threatens Universities - VCs

Picture from the maiden edition of Elizade University Bursary Lecture
Picture from the maiden edition of Elizade University Bursary Lecturethe punch

Prof Kayode Thadius Ijadunola, the Vice Chancellor of Elizade University, Ondo state, and Professor Smaranda Olarinde, the Vice Chancellor of Afe Babalola University in Ado – Ekiti, have sounded the alarm on the challenges Nigerian Universities are facing as a result of the nation's depressed economy.

The two vice chancellors expressed their concern at the inaugural Elizade University Bursary Lecture, which took place over the weekend at the institution.

Prof ljadunola urged the Federal Government to urgently devise a creative solution for addressing the nation’s economic downturn. He pointed out that without TETFUND, many Public Universities in Nigeria would have closed. As for Private Universities, the economy had turned hostile.

As the guest Lecturer, Vice-Chancellor of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), Professor Olarinde emphasized the importance of deploying appropriate cutting-edge technology and the use of Artificial Intelligence in University management, especially in the face of Financial Challenges in the Nigerian University Sector in a volatile and uncertain economy.

Noting that the cost of University education is on the rise, Olarinde highlighted the impracticality and unsustainability of relying on a single source of funding, particularly with the Nigerian government allocating a mere 6.39% of the total budget to education, falling short of UNESCO's recommended minimum of 15%.

She lamented that valuable human resources in the form of highly qualified Nigerian youths are being wasted and denied university education, with statistics showing that only 19.5% of candidates are offered admission into Medicine, Surgery, and Health Sciences out of those qualified.

This, she said, is the outcome of poor funding for University education in Nigeria, and she pleaded for TETFund to extend to other Private Universities.

Olarinde emphasized that the current situation at TETFUND is unfair to Private Institutions. She pointed out that Private Universities, that play a crucial role in expanding access to quality tertiary education, are denied any benefits from TETFUND, which she believes could have contributed to reducing fees in Private Schools, supporting infrastructural development, and allowing Private Institutions to enroll more students at lower fees.

The Vice-Chancellor noted that there is no justification for excluding Private Universities as beneficiaries of TETFUND, which receives funding from taxes collected from both public and private companies.

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