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Azinge, Utomi, Asiodu advocate alumni funding to save education sector


Prof. Epiphany Azinge

Prominent Nigerians have advocated sustained alumni funding to tackle the rot in the education sector across the country.

The advocates include the former director-general of Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS), Prof. Epiphany Azinge (SAN); former Presidential Chief Economic Adviser, Chief Philip Asiodu; professor of Political Economics, Pat Utomi; and principal partner of Punuka Attorneys, Chief Anthony Idigbe (SAN).

They spoke at the weekend during the grand re-union and fund-raising ceremony of St. Patrick’s College, Asaba, alumni in Lagos.


Prof. Utomi, who was the guest lecturer, highlighted the importance of education, adding that it was wrong to leave mission schools in the hands of government.

He said, “We need to strategise on how to return education to the good old days.”

According to him, judicious application of funds will help to turn the sector around.

“The alumni movement is particularly in good stead to make a difference in schools. Alumni can make some commitments and develop a model that can bring in resources into schools.

“Values are the things that shape the future of the young ones. Therefore, we need alumni engagement and mentoring of young people to do that. Part of the bane of education is poor teacher quality,” he pointed out.

Chief Idigbe said he was fortunate to attend St. Patrick’s College when its original culture was still in place.

“This culture became significantly eroded with the incursion of government into education. It is therefore a shame that for selfish national politics, mission schools were taken over and deliberately degraded.

“We are now suffering from the result of our misstep. Our school system is broke and values are down. Education, which is the foundation for value formation, is eroded.

“I, however, acknowledge the recent attempt to remedy the situation by the return of mission schools to the Church in some states. I’m happy about the return of St. Patrick College to the Church. We are now challenged to find how to sustain the legacy,” he said.

He noted that “most schools abroad depend on the endowment from their alumni” for sustenance.

Underscoring the importance of alumni endowment in education funding, Chief Asiodu said “anyone without education is likely to end up as a liability” to the society.

“When I see old boys trying to uplift their school, it gladdens my mind because of the degradation in the last few decades.”

The principal of the College, Rev. Fr. Ignatius Offor, said the mission was determined to reposition the school as one of the best in the country.

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