Varsity don seeks improved funding of education
A professor of Political Science, Olufunke Okome yesterday restated call for improved funding of education, calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to invest in the future of our youths by allocating 30 percent of the budgetary allocation to education.
Okome who is presently a Carnegie African Diaspora Fellow and Professor of Political science at Brooklyn College United States of America, also called on the Federal Government to subsidise education so that the children of the poor will have access to qualitative and sound training.
She lamented that out-of-school children are increasing in millions because parents earning N18, 000 minimum wage will be unable to train their children in school if its prices are left in the hands of market forces.
She warned President Buhari to be weary of countries offering to help Nigeria saying only committed Nigerians at home and abroad must be used by president to fashion out policies to turn around the fortunes of the country.
Okome who delivered the 65th Interdisciplinary discourse of the postgraduate school University of Ibadan ( UI) organized by the Dean, Professor Adeyinka Aderinto entitled “Globalization and the Political Economy of Higher Education in Nigeria” hinted that public universities are still subsidized in the United States of America so that all rich and poor children can have access to quality education and transform the country.
The professor, who was 1979 graduate of political science of the premier university lamented that Nigeria is a country that squanders her intellectual human resources who later become pillars of development in the Diaspora.
“Education ought not be left to pure market forces. Government should fund education very well. It should also not be handed over to even our good friends. There are many people who want to help us now. I was horrified when I heard that DFID have people in the Federal Ministry of Education helping us to write policy. What kind of policy is that? Does any Nigerian go to the UK to write policies for them? We should be weary of our friends and we should be the vanguard in strengthening our institutions.
“We should become more excited about what we are doing inspite of the challenges of underfunding, and infrastructure decay that we face. We need to strengthen our system and educational institutions to meet the demands of the present and future and these efforts must be spearheaded by indigenes at home and in the Diaspora”, she said
She challenged the University of Ibadan and indeed all pressure groups to speak to those in power and fight for proper funding of education adding that those at the National Assembly must work for Nigerians rather than glory in earning fat salaries and wardrobe allowances.
While noting that matters of education are a critical component of national security and national development, Professor Okome said President Buhari must fund education if he wants Nigeria to progress adding that many lecturers in Nigeria are disillusioned and frustrated.
In his remarks, the Vice Chancellor, Professor Isaac Adewole stated that free education at all levels is possible if Nigerians are willing to pay taxes as done in developed countries adding that elites are the major problems of Nigeria.
Adewole stated that the Federal Government needed to increase funding for education and particularly enjoined President Buhari to assist the institution with special funding in Research and Development to help become and sustain its strive towards becoming a global force in education and cutting edge researches.