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Former Vice-Chancellor Supports New Student Loan Scheme to Strengthen Universities’ Finances
A former Vice-Chancellor of the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, Ondo State, Prof. Femi Mimiko, has expressed his support for the newly introduced student loan scheme by the Federal Government, stating that it would greatly enhance the financial standing of the nation’s universities. Speaking at the 6th annual registry lecture titled “Reform imperatives in the governance structure of tertiary institutions in Nigeria” at Elizade University, Prof. Mimiko emphasized that this development would provide universities with the opportunity to charge tuition fees, thereby improving their financial situation.
Prof. Mimiko highlighted that the era of running university education for free was no longer realistic. He pointed out that tuition fees in Nigerian universities were abolished by the Federal Government in the 1970s when there was ample revenue from oil. However, with the decline in oil revenue due to global market complications, the government faced a significant funding challenge. As a result, Nigerian public universities, especially federal universities, are currently in a difficult situation where funding from proprietors is decreasing, and they are not allowed to charge tuition fees.
To address this dilemma, Prof. Mimiko stressed the importance of a loan scheme floated by the government. Such a scheme would enable every undergraduate in need of financial assistance to access funds for their tuition fees, while also giving universities the latitude to charge tuition and improve their funding. He highlighted that this approach is adopted in many countries and that it is unrealistic to expect university education, which is primarily an elitist concept worldwide, to be completely free in Nigeria.
The consequence of the funding gap and the government’s inability to provide sufficient funds has been the infrastructural deficit and decay in Nigerian public universities. Prof. Mimiko called on university heads to actively pursue funding opportunities through grants, linkages, and the development of innovative academic programs. He emphasized the need for universities to adopt an entrepreneurial approach to generate additional revenue and enhance human capacity development, similar to renowned institutions like Harvard University.
The Vice Chancellor of Elizade University, Prof. Olukayode Amund, highlighted the significance of the registry department in any university. He encouraged other faculties within the institution to draw inspiration from the registry department’s lectures and organize similar events. This exchange of knowledge and ideas can contribute to the overall development and progress of the university.
Prof. Femi Mimiko’s support for the newly introduced student loan scheme underscores the importance of finding sustainable funding solutions for Nigerian universities. He emphasizes the need to strike a balance between charging tuition fees and providing financial assistance to students who require it. By implementing such a scheme and exploring diverse funding opportunities, Nigerian universities can overcome their financial challenges and pave the way for enhanced educational experiences and infrastructure development.