Echono pledges interventions to address hostel deficit in tertiary institutions
The Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Arc Sonny Echono, has decried hostel deficit in tertiary institutions.
To Echono, the fact that only 15 to 20 per cent of students in public schools live on campus even at a time Nigeria is confronted with insecurity, is not a welcome development.
With this on mind, the Executive Secretary stated that TETFund will focus attention in the direction of hostel accommodation to save students from exposure to risks and social vices.
He said: “The issue of hostel accommodation is something we have done a lot of research into and we are now intervening. It is true that in many of our institutions, only roughly about 15 to 20 per cent of students are housed on campuses.
“This is not acceptable and as I said, residing off campuses would be exposing them to all sort of vices; even the fact that they will have to leave classes to their accommodations at nights and one doesn’t know what happens to them when they leave because they can also be impersonated and all sort of devices.
“We have cases of students participating in armed robbery. Students engaged in drug trafficking and all sorts of dishonorable behaviors, especially ladies and so on.
“So, yes. We are prioritizing the issue of hostel accommodation. And as speaks to you, the project I went to commission in Makurdi, two of them are hostels and currently, this year alone, I think the number of hostels that would be commencing in various institutions are in excess of more than 30.”
While Echono strives to address the challenge through TETFund interventions, he believed that the private sector can make serious impact by partnering government on the issue.
“But that is only one side of it. The second side is that we believe that hostel accommodation is an area the private sector can collaborate with institutions.
“So, we are encouraging institutions to go into Public, Private Partnership (PPP) arrangements. They can provide the land on the campus and then moderate the cost to the student because they also guarantee that they will have enough students to occupy it, which is one of the factors when you are investing in hostel accommodation.
“So, once the schools are able to provide the land, guarantee that students will occupy it and help the eventual operator in even collecting rent together with school fees, then, they will be able to mobilize their resources to put up a structure, get a facility manager to run it and that way, you can increase the number of hostels available.
“So, we are telling them that aside from our own intervention, people should explore these private-public partnerships so that we can have more possibilities for majority of our students to reside on campus.