Inadequate funding for university education in Nigeria is the biggest development problem. Today, university education in Nigeria remains chronically underfunded! Our enthusiasm for education has not been matched by financial and development commitments.
Currently, the PCA-led government under President Buhari allocates a paltry 5-7% of the total budget for education, compared to the United Nations recommended standard of at least 27% of the annual budget for education. ‘a nation with education. Thus, the level of resource commitment for education does not match our desire for educational development.
One of the root causes of the problem of inadequate funding is the result of the government policy of abolishing tuition fees at Nigerian federal universities in 1977. Today there is an unprecedented growth of federal universities and the student population, without increasing the budget allocation. The problem of inadequate funding led to the recent call for the reintroduction of tuition fees at federal universities in Nigeria (both public and private universities have already introduced theirs). The problem of inadequate financing has led to a general deterioration in the development and maintenance of infrastructure.
One of the things needed to get federal universities out of the brink of collapse and the abyss of desperation is this thorny issue of tuition fees. This renewed interest is based on the pressure and demands on the system and its facilities which are becoming so high that free tuition fees at Nigerian federal universities may no longer be sustainable.
However, the reintroduction of tuition fees should be a gradual process, and not the current suggestion to move from “no-tuition status” to one million naira paying tuition! Let’s hurry slowly. We can start with a tuition fee of N50,000 per semester with a review every four years. With this gradual process, students and parents will not feel much pain; after all, we all pay the same for our children in private and public elementary and secondary schools across the country.
The factors inhibiting adequate funding of university education in Nigeria may best be situated under the influence of monetary economic theories and the enormity of the debt burden. A major shift was felt in the way Western countries applied aid to “third world nations”. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank have become interventionist in their approach to third world economies through structural adjustment programs (SAPs). With this came the rise in inflation, the collapse or fall in the price of crude oil, the instability of exchange rates and the increase in external debts. As a result, government budget allocations could no longer match the increasing burden on universities! The concomitant neglect of the university as a potentially important engine of development is damaging. Nigeria’s ruling elites are giving knowledge a supporting role to politics and power!
Other crisis-generating factors that stem from the lingering discord in the university system, resulting from inadequate funding, include: inadequate basic and essential facilities, the formulation of a disadvantageous new pension scheme, terms of service mediocre and demoralizing and the shutdown of federal government scholarship and scholarship programs.
These are all shortcomings that erode performance.
What is needed to lift the Nigerian education system from the brink of collapse is a fundamental overhaul. An important step towards rebirth and sustainability is drastic reform that would reduce the University’s dependence on unsecured and declining government resources.
There is a need to explore other avenues of income to stimulate government subversion, if the University is to continue to survive, such as: 1. Engaging in fundraising activities and private sector participation in education. ‘education. 2. Financial resourcefulness and strengthening of the internal and external control system, for better and transparent management. 3. A double policy of rationalization. First, the government must reconstitute and expand the composition of the University Council to reflect the various interest groups and stakeholders associated with the activities of the university. Second, the current unprecedented proliferation of universities in Nigeria, without commensurate development and basic infrastructure, must be fought with frenzy. There should be mergers and acquisitions. 4. Continuation of intensive and extensive agricultural programs, in particular for universities in rural areas. 5. Establish a link between higher education and industry, commerce and agriculture, in order to fully realize the potentials of the system. 7. In accordance with the “National Education Policy”, education should be adequately funded as a social service, to be funded by all levels of government. 8. The Education Tax Fund, the National Science and Technology Fund, the Nigerian Bank Education Fund, the Industrial Training Fund, the Petroleum Trust Fund as well as the Tetfund should be revived. , mobilized and made available to Nigerian education. 9. The NUC minimum standards should include a minimum annual budget allocation standard of at least 10-20 percent of Nigeria’s national budget. 10. A certain degree of institutional autonomy should be granted to the university, in order to facilitate economic diversity, so that the services are properly remunerated and the objectives actually achieved or achieved.
The above suggestions, if implemented, will go a long way in transforming and invigorating the system. Let us move forward with the momentum of a revolution!
Professor Azenabor is the former Director of the Institute for Continuing Education, the former Head of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Lagos and now a Visiting Fellow at the University of Ghana, Legon.