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Don seeks more funding for public universities in Nigeria

Prof. Olu Obafemi, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council, Federal University of Technology (FUT), Minna, has called on the Federal Government to adequately fund public universities in the country.

Obafemi, a renowned Poet, made the call while delivering a Public Lecture organised by the University of Jos Chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in Jos.

The public lecture had the theme ”Government’s Commitment to Funding Public Universities in Nigeria: The Past, Present and Future.”

The don, who decried that the current budgetary allocation for education in the country was grossly inadequate, insisted that proper funding would prevent Nigerians from moving to other countries in search of university degrees.

”According to UNESCO standards, budgetary allocation for education should be 26 percent, but over the years, our budget for education has never gone beyond eight percent. In fact, the 2024 budget for education is seven percent.

”Over 70 percent of the crisis within university education is caused by poor funding and mismanagement of resources, and the struggle to make the government  right the wrongs has been the reason for the incessant strikes, particularly by ASUU.

”Poor funding is a major impediment toward the growth of public universities, and this is why Nigerians send their children to Europe or poorer African countries to acquire university degrees, he said.

Earlier, Prof. Emmanuel Osadeke, the National President of ASUU, commended the chapter for organising the public lecture to mark its 2024 Hero’s Day.

Osadeke explained that the day was set aside to remember their fallen colleagues, particularly those who died for the cause of the union.

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The national president, who commended the federal government for excluding universities from the Treasure Single Account (TSA), however, said that more needs to be done to better the lots of public universities and education in general.

”We have been struggling for years, but nothing has changed. Lecturers do not need palliatives from the government, but proper funding will guarantee good welfare packages for them.

”Today, a university professor in Nigeria earns less than $200, while a lecturer takes less than $50, he lamented.

On his part, Prof. Tanko Ishaya, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Jos, promised to support the struggle by ASUU toward tackling the challenges facing public universities in the country.

”If not for ASUU, public universities would have been grounded just like public primary and secondary education.

”So, the government must ensure absolute autonomy for the university system; that will enable managers of these institutions to run them effectively, he said.

In a brief welcome address, Dr. Jurbe Mwolwus said that the hero’s day was instituted in 2014 to celebrate deceased and retired colleagues.

He said that members of the union would remain united toward ensuring that the university education system gets the desired attention.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the occasion was chaired by Prof. Monday Mwangvwat, a one-time Vice Chancellor of the University of Jos.(NAN)

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