The Federal Government has mulled the need to explore alternative means of funding for tertiary education in Nigeria amid academic disruption caused by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
Investors King reported that academic activities in public universities in Nigeria were disrupted for about eight months.
Speaking at a public event organised by the House of Representatives, the Minister for Works and Former Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola noted that alternative funding seems to be the only forward-looking way to fund tertiary education in Nigeria.
While acknowledging that tertiary education needs collective funding from all levels of government, he however highlights areas where the universities and polytechnics could generate funds to include printing press and consultancy services.
“University consultancy services, data provision, poll results, value data, and printing press are value proposals of alternatives for tertiary Institutions,” he said.
Fashola also disapproved of the autonomy sought by lecturers in tertiary education. He noted that it is a big issue that needs to be addressed going forward.
Also speaking at the event is the Director General of the budget office of the federation, Benjamin Akabueze.
Akabueze who aligned himself with the position of the minister noted that the current system of funding can not feed the tertiary education sector.
‘There has to be sustainable funding of tertiary education. We can’t continue with the current system because it is not working and not sustainable.” he stated.
Nonetheless, the event also witnessed opposing opinions, particularly from Professor Uduak Ekpo. A professor of education at the University of Calabar.
Ekpo disagrees with the earlier position established by both Fashola and Akabueze. He noted that if lecturers are saddled with the responsibility of funding, it will affect the quality of education and research.
He concluded that the funding might still not be successful noting that lectures are better off in the classrooms or labs.
On his part, the President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke bemoaned any idea to increase the fee paid by students in search of alternative funding. He noted that with the level of poverty and the state of the economy, many students will not be able to afford any increase.
WAEC 2023 Results: Impressive Pass Rates Amidst Examination Malpractice Concerns
The West African Examination Council (WAEC) has recently released the highly anticipated results for the 2023 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
As students and parents eagerly awaited the outcome, the examination body announced the results on Monday, shedding light on some noteworthy trends.
According to Patrick Areghan, the Head of Nigeria’s Office (HNO) of WAEC, 1,613,733 candidates sat for the 2023 examination. However, the joy of success was not without its challenges as the results of 262,803 candidates are currently being withheld due to reported cases of examination malpractice.
Amidst this concern, there is a glimmer of hope and celebration for a significant number of candidates. The pass rate witnessed a notable improvement with 1,361,608 candidates or 84.38 percent, achieving credit and above in a minimum of five subjects, irrespective of whether English Language or Mathematics was included.
Even more impressive, 1,287,920 candidates or 79.81 percent of the total candidates secured credits and above in a minimum of five subjects, including both English Language and Mathematics.
The increase in pass rates not only reflects the dedication and hard work of the candidates but also speaks to the effectiveness of educational institutions and teachers in preparing students for this critical examination.
It serves as a testament to the commitment of educators and students alike to strive for excellence in education.
Nevertheless, the issue of examination malpractice remains a significant concern that must be addressed head-on.
Nigerian Students in the UK Struggle as Tuition Fees Soar Amidst Exchange Rate Crisis
The value of the Nigerian currency has plummeted, leading to a significant increase in tuition fees for these students.
The recent move by the Central Bank of Nigeria to unify the nation’s foreign exchange rates has had a devastating impact on Nigerian students studying in the United Kingdom.
Following the floating of the naira at the Investors and Exporters’ Window, the value of the Nigerian currency has plummeted, leading to a significant increase in tuition fees for these students.
The sharp decline in the value of the naira has put immense pressure on many Nigerians studying in the UK, with some facing the possibility of dropping out due to financial constraints.
The United Kingdom has long been a preferred destination for Nigerian students seeking quality education abroad.
According to data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency of the UK, a staggering 128,770 Nigerian students enrolled in UK universities between 2015 and 2022. These students contribute approximately £1.9 billion annually to the UK economy, highlighting their significant presence and impact.
However, the recent exchange rate crisis has disrupted the educational journey of many Nigerian students in the UK. The increase in tuition fees, estimated at around 60 percent, has created a tremendous financial burden for these students.
As the value of the naira continues to decline, students find themselves struggling to pay the balance of their tuition fees, jeopardizing their academic progress and future prospects.
Numerous students have expressed their distress and frustration over the situation. Adejoro Deborah, a Nigerian student in Manchester, highlighted the adverse effects of the policy, mentioning that her sibling had to forfeit her admission due to the unaffordable fees.
Also, some students had kept their tuition fees in their naira accounts, expecting a different exchange rate. However, with the drastic depreciation of the naira, they now face the challenge of finding additional funds to cover the increased fees.
The impact of the exchange rate crisis goes beyond financial difficulties. Some students have found themselves stranded as their access to university portals is withdrawn due to unpaid tuition fees. This not only prevents them from accessing important academic resources but also hinders their ability to attend classes, both online and in-person. The emotional toll of being shut out of their educational journey adds to the distress and uncertainty faced by these students.
Intending Nigerian students who planned to study in the UK are also deeply affected by the surge in exchange rates. The Proof of Funds (PoF) requirement, which demonstrates a student’s ability to cover tuition fees and living expenses, has become significantly more challenging to meet. The increased exchange rates have inflated the amount of money students need to demonstrate, leading to a surge in PoF requirements. This, in turn, has made the application process more difficult and has deterred potential students from pursuing their educational aspirations.
The Form A application process, designed by the Central Bank of Nigeria, was expected to provide a solution for students paying for services such as tuition fees. However, students have faced numerous challenges, including delayed processing by banks and the subsequent increase in fees due to fluctuating exchange rates. Many students are frustrated by the bureaucracy and the lack of prompt action in converting funds and paying their schools.
The situation calls for urgent intervention from the Nigerian government. Parents, education consultants, and concerned individuals are pleading with the government to address the foreign exchange crisis and provide relief for the affected students. The National Parents Teachers Association has appealed to the Federal Government to collaborate with parents and academics to find a solution to the problems plaguing the education sector. Urgent concessions are needed for students who initiated Form A requests before the implementation of the new exchange rate regime.
The plight of Nigerian students studying in the UK highlights the broader challenges posed by exchange rate fluctuations and their impact on education. It emphasizes the need for long-term strategies to mitigate the financial burden on students and ensure their uninterrupted educational journey. As the Nigerian government grapples with these issues, students and parents eagerly await a resolution that will alleviate their financial struggles and enable them to pursue their educational dreams.
Nigeria Extends Subsidies Removal to Professional Bodies, Shifting Financial Responsibility
Nigeria Announces End of Budgetary Funding for Professional Bodies and Councils, Shifting Financial Responsibility to Institutions
The Federal Government of Nigeria has announced the extension of the subsidies removal policy to professional bodies and councils, starting from the 2024 budget.
The decision, outlined in a letter dated June 26, 2023, and signed by Ben Akabueze, signifies the government’s intention to discontinue budgetary funding for professional institutions, Investors King reports.
The letter highlighted that the Presidential Committee on Salaries (PCS), during its 13th meeting, reached a consensus to cease budgetary allocations to professional bodies and councils effective December 31, 2026.
Consequently, the letter served as official notice that the government would no longer provide financial provisions to these organizations, designating them as self-funded entities.
The communication further emphasized that starting from December 31, 2026, the respective institutions would assume full responsibility for their personnel, overhead, and capital expenditures. This shift in financial responsibility signals a significant change in the relationship between professional bodies and the government.
The decision to extend the subsidies removal policy to professional bodies comes shortly after President Bola Ahmed Tinubu eliminated subsidies on petroleum products and depegged the Nigerian Naira, allowing market forces to determine the nation’s exchange rate.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other multilateral financial institutions have long criticized Nigeria’s heavy subsidies burden, attributing it to various challenges faced by the nation despite ongoing efforts to address them.
According to the IMF, the removal of subsidies alone could result in Nigeria saving a substantial amount, estimated at up to N3.9 trillion in 2023.
The IMF further explained that redirecting such significant funds could be channeled into critical areas such as infrastructure development, healthcare, education, and more.
President Tinubu took a comprehensive approach, beginning with the removal of subsidies on education, followed by similar actions across various sectors.
His strategy, popularly known as the “willing buyer willing sellers” methodology, aimed to streamline government spending and encourage market-driven solutions.
As Nigeria moves toward the complete removal of subsidies and a greater reliance on market dynamics, professional bodies and councils must now navigate a new financial landscape. With the upcoming deadline in mind, these organizations must adapt their operational and financial strategies to ensure sustainable growth and meet their mandates effectively.
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