Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has called on the Federal Government to review its policy on university education with a view to subsidizing tuition fees for indigent students, emphasizing that intelligent but indigent students should be encouraged to acquire quality university education.
Speaking at the maiden matriculation ceremony for the pioneer students of the Edo University, Iyamho, on Saturday, Oshiomhole said parents of the rich should be made to pay for quality university education for their children while the government should give subvention to children of the poor for same quality education.
He said: “Nigeria has to engage in a serious national conversation on the appropriate educational policy with particular reference to higher education.
“Just now, this conversation is taking place in an informal way. The system seems to have collapsed. Governments at all levels simply do not have the capacity to provide the level of funding which universities require to produce first class graduates.
“Right now, Nigeria is running a system which is highly deceptive and is not sustainable, a system that I like to describe as a generalized system of suffering, a system that subsidizes the children of the rich just as they subsidize the children of the poor. For God’s sake, my dear friend who works in an oil sector, why should his son or his daughter go to the university and enjoy subsidy when they can afford to pay $20,000 or $30,000 for his son in Canada or in the UK or in the US? But if they are here in Nigerian universities, they pay N40,000 or N50,000, and we know that is not sustainable.
According to him, today, people find individual solutions to a matter that requires a national policy, adding that while some University lecturers send their children to foreign universities for quality education, some Nigerian doctors also go to India for medical treatment, saying it is not a sustainable practice.
Oshiomhole said: “I think the way to go is to have the courage to find a way to identify students whose parents can afford to pay school fees, to pay economic fees for their university degrees. But the ones who cannot afford, but have what it takes for university education, those ones can also be identified and granted government scholarship so that they are not denied access to quality education.”
He assured, “The students of the poor who cannot afford this rate but who have what it takes to pursue a university degree, Edo State Government should be able and should provide such students grants so that they don’t deny them access. I have already encouraged the management to set up a panel to identify such students, if there are, among the current students, and to make sure that it does not involve any influence or corruption. We have carefully selected a panel to include a man that we all respect, Bishop Dunia as a member of that panel.”
Speaking earlier, Vice Chancellor of Edo University, Iyamho, Prof. Emmanuel Aluyor paid glowing tributes to Governor Adams Oshiomhole for his initiative in establishing the State university and his contributions to the Nigeria nation.
He said, ” Sir, you have made history not only in Edo State but also in Nigeria. Today’s event is another feat on your score card. The management, staff and students of Edo University Iyamho will like to thank you for the very many things you have done for us and very specially for all the sacrifice to ensure this school takes off. Like every human venture, there are challenges, but you have provided a broad shoulder to lean on. Therefore, we are confident that we will succeed.”
The Vice-Chancellor said the university which has been accredited by the Nigerian Universities Commission to run degree programmes in arts, social sciences and management sciences commenced academic activities in April 2016 with the admission of 500 students, and plans were under way to start other programmes in the future.
He said the first session of the university will end on 18th November while a new 2016/2017 academic session is expected to start with the admission of new students in November 2016.
Ninety-one pioneer students of the institution took their matriculation oath at the ceremony which was attended by many dignitaries including the Chief Judge of the State, Justice Cromwell Idahosa, who led a number of Judges from the State Judiciary to the occasion, Service Chiefs, members of the State Executive Council, royal fathers from Edo North, the Esogban of Benin Kingdom, Chief David Edebiri; Gubernatorial aspirant of the All Progressives Congress, Maj.-Gen Charles Airhiavbere, Heads of Tertiary institutions in the state, among others.
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