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Varsity teacher deplores 5.6% budget for education sector

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Dean, Faculty of Law, Delta State University (DELSU), Abraka, Prof. Kingsley Edu, has advocated better funding for education, insisting that the 5.6 per cent funding shows Federal Government’s lack of commitment to education.

He said public universities were worse off due to the funding challenge and had remained in terrible conditions, lamenting that in spite of the poor funding the federal and state governments were still setting up new universities and colleges of education.

Speaking on Charting The Course For The Progress In Nigeria University Education at the 14th matriculation of the Renaissance University, Ugbawka in Enugu State, Edu also canvassed inclusion of private universities in the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) funding.

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Lamenting the situation of public universities, he said: “Most laboratories and workshops are poorly equipped. Some departments and faculties are poorly staffed. The result is that some of the universities employ emergency staff during accreditation and disengage them after the exercise.

“There is no autonomy, as university administrators are not allowed to run their institutions. They are not allowed to charge appropriate tuition fees due to political campaign promises of free and qualitative education at all levels.

“Most public universities do not have stable academic calendar because of frequent labour disputes and closure of schools.

Governments have failed to honour the terms of collective agreement jointly reached with labour on several occasions.

“Courses that should be taught in 12 weeks are now taught in a few weeks resulting to low output. There is also brain drain due to poor salary and facilities for state development.”

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Suggesting that universities should engage in quality research and improved infrastructure to overcome the downward slide, he urged the Federal Government to integrate private universities in TETFUND’s funding to assisting them, stressing that there should be no opposition between government and private universities in the country.

He stated that public and private universities produce graduates for the Nigerian labour market and as such, there should be no dichotomy.

“The universities and their staff members pay taxes. They help in reducing the social challenges by creating employment.

“They contribute to human capacity building and production of the country’s human capital, yet they are left to survive on their own with little or no financial support from the Federal Government. It is not fair for our system, as it does not promote healthy competition,” he added.

Speaking, Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Thaddeus Eze, commended the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) for extending intakes into Nigerian universities up to June 2021, adding that admission into the Renaissance University would continue after matriculation to makeup for lost time to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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