‘Federal, state universities must review fees to lift sector’
To address the infrastructural and personnel deficits in the nation’s public universities, the institutions as well as parents must be ready to pay the right fees obtainable across the world, vice chancellor, Joseph Ayo Babalola University (JABU), Osun State, Prof. Sola Fajana has said.
Fajana specifically tasked federal and state universities to charge appropriate fees capable of lifting the institutions out of the doldrums. The vice chancellor in a chat with The Guardian recently, argued that education especially at tertiary level cannot be free, saying it is never practiced anywhere in the world.
He said the low fee being charged by the federal and state universities is the reason private universities are operating below their installed capacity as all candidates want to be enrolled in either federal or state universities.
According to him, “Appropriate pricing is very necessary specifically now. It is never done anywhere in the world, education cannot be free especially at tertiary level. They can charge some fees, not that it will be at par with private universities, but it will be a form of assistance to government. Currently virtually all-private universities are operating far below their installed capacity on account of low student enrolment. Sixty or so of the private universities can cater for about 300,000 candidates provided the tuition is affordable.
“Private university fees actually crashed in 2017, and this trend is expected to continue. The National Universities Commission (NUC) is doing a good job at ensuring quality. A regime of gradual but small increase in fees charged by federal and state universities will serve to narrow the public-private university fee differentials; and thereby provide a more level playing ground for competing candidates by all categories of universities.
He continued, “Enrolment will increase in the private universities, and there would be less pressure on the public institutions. The bigger funds available to public universities will hopefully be deployed towards maintaining and improving their installed infrastructure, and keeping a respectable and quality staffing level. This offers some relief to the current pressure on state and federal funds especially during the current economic downturn. At the end of the day, everybody wins,” he said.He however advocated the re-introduction of tuition assistance, scholarships, loans and bursaries to cater for indigent students.
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