INCREASE IN SCHOOL FEES? A Discussion on Future of Public University Education In Nigeria In Light of Government Neglect Resulting in Frequent ASUU Strikes

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▪️Discussants:
(1). High Chief Nelson Imoh (Law Teacher); and
(2). Sylvester Udemezue (Udems) (Law Teacher)

 

 

▪️DATE: May 03, 2022
▪️VENUE: Law Teachers and Clinics (a WhatsApp Platform).


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1️⃣ Sylvester Udemezue (Udems): One reality staring us in the face is that Government alone may not or can’t continue to fund public tertiary education in Nigeria

3️⃣. HIGH CHIEF NELSON IMOH:
Who funded your own education? Whoever funded your own education can still fund your children’s education. Let them close the tap of wastage and see that our commonwealth can fund the education of GenerationNext

3️⃣ SYLVESTER UDEMEZUE:
I am being realistic, sir. Else, I agree with you that the unnecessarily huge cost of governance and the wastage by our leaders at all levels, are neauseatung, scary. There is no doubt that if leaders reduce waste and packing away into private pockets, of public wealth in Nigeria, Nigeria has more than enough resources to give Nigerian youths free education up to the university level.
However, I see this as the IDEAL situation for two reasons:
(a) . In my opinion, we don’t yet have leaders with the mindset to give us that type of good governance that would lead to reduction in wastage, egoism, increase in pragmatism, realism, and prioritization of the basic needs of Nigerians, starting (as they ought to) with putting necessary machinery in place for achieving a good quality education, etc;

(b). We don’t yet know when the beautiful ones (good, charismatic, pragmatic and altruist leaders) would take over leadership of the public space in Nigeria.

In view of the above, should we allow our kids to continue to suffer until such a time, if ever, this country will get blessed with leaders with the kind of foresight and sagacity needed to move us out of the doldrums?
I submit “no” as the answer!

Why not we agree to a realistic solutions that would ensure our kids remain in school since most parents and wards can’t afford the extant high cost of private university education in Nigeria or overseas? One of such immediate reasonable solutions is, in my view, creating an opportunity for internally generated revenue in the form of increase in school fees. It’s not easy though. But i think that if our parents/guardians and children/wards are asked to choose between the two evils (two evils so to say),
they’d elect the one that would keep their kids in school to ensure their education resumes and proceeds seamlessly (even though with an increased burden on the parents/guardians) to fruition and conclusion, rather than a a situation that sees tertiary education continually disrupted and neglected to the detriment of proper education of our children and wards.

4️⃣. NELSON IMOH:
If you don’t know when good will come, don’t encourage the reign of the bad. I don’t even believe that govt funded my education. Besides, na our people de pepper ASUU most when dem enter power. Our products are the most insensitive to our plights whenever they are in govt. Yet some of us are the most pliant in bending rules to accommodate their intellectual ineptitude whenever they come calling to drink from our well of intellectualism.

5️⃣. SYLVESTER UDEMEZUE: Being educated or an intellectual doesn’t necessarily make one a sagastic, charismatic and pragmatic leader.
That’s where you get it wrong. Example, one had expected, reasonably, that Professor (a core academic) and Learned Silk Yemi Osinbajo as the Veepee in Nigeria for the past 7 years could have helped to give a lasting solution to this perennial FG-ASUU crises. Is it not shocking that an Osinbajo Vice Presidency has not had any positive impact on the crisis?
So, which SAVIOUR are we waiting for, to solve these lingering problems?

By way of facing reality, why not ASUU and all stakeholders agree and settle for an increase in school fees for all public universities as an immediate and more realistic solution to paucity of resources to run tertiary education in Nigeria?
Most private universities in Nigeria charge and collect between N1,000,000 (one million naira) and N3,000,000 (three million naira) as School fees per session (annum). A total-package school fee of between N200,000 (two hundred thousand naira) and N300,000 (three hundred thousand naira) per session (which means per year) in public universities will still be a better evil and preferred alternative, to keep this sector going.
Whatever is realized as school fees would be added to the meager allocations from uncaring and unpragmatic Governments. In this way, there is less complaint and improved welfare for both university staff and students.
Let’s think about this.

6️⃣. NELSON IMOH:
If they had done that during your days, you won’t be where you are are right now. Why do we like destroying the ladder after we have climbed to the top?? Why are you not teaching in a Private University? At least higher school fees will translate to higher wages!.Does it not make more sense to join where they collect and pay much?

7️⃣. SYLVESTER UDEMEZUE:
My brother, this is not about Udems.
ANALOGY: Between the 1860’s and 1914, Nigeria had to settle for improvisation by allowing non Lawyers to get license to practice until such a time we got a considerable number of qualified lawyers.

Further, the years 1914 up to 1962 saw mostly foreign-trained lawyers dominating the law practice space until Nigeria established its own system of law education which now sees the local-trained holding sway. Let’s face what is practicable and immediately realizable (in the face of prevalence of bad governance in the country) instead of this unrealistic habit of perpetually waiting for uncaring, egoistic, unpragmatic, and imprudent governments to implement agreements they obviously have no intentions of implementing?

The future of our children is what is at stake today. We can’t sit back and allow this future destroyed on the altar of prevailing misgoverance. The N10,000 to N12,000 I paid as total package school during my days is of much higher value than N200,000 today (2022). When I paid N12,000 as school fees per session, $1 was about N21 (twenty-one naira)
In May 2022, $1 is over N590 (five hundred and ninety naira).

8️⃣. NELSON IMOH:
You didn’t even experience the 1993 strike that led to the establishment of ETF/ TETFUND? Even the children of those that opposed the 1993 strike are now beneficiaries of TETFUND 😁

9️⃣. Sylvester Udemezue:
I was not in the university in 1993.
I think I was in the last year of my secondary school by 1993.
Dear High Chief, don’t get me wrong!
(a)You and I, in the real sense, are actually in the same other room together. (b) You and I are united in feeling that successive governments in Nigeria have shown a near-absolute lack of care to the plight of the education sector in Nigeria over the years. (c) You and I are ad idem that Nigeria is wealthy enough to fund Public tertiary education 💯 percent from public purse. (d) You and I are in agreement that the education sector is among the most neglected, and therefore among the most dilapidated, in Nigeria, bad governance being at the foundation. (e) You and I agree that something urgent must be done to save whatever is left of the education sector. (f). I think you and I agree that it’s the responsibility, nay, the obligation, of governments to make the move that would see us out of the woods in terms of finding a lasting solution. Example, it’s government that has habitually refused/failed to implement existing agreements.

We agree on all these.
But I have some questions for you:
🅰️. Is it reasonable to stay and remain down because someone else wants you to?
🅱️. Should we fold our arms and allow uncaring and unpragmatic Governments to destroy the future of our children and wards?

Mind you, there is hardly any high-ranking public office holder in Nigeria who has his or her kids in a public university in Nigeria. Their kids are overseas and in private Universities in Nigeria. Over 97 percent of parents and guardians can’t cope with sending their kids overseas or to private universities in Nigeria. Yet, public Universities are shut down with all attention now focused on the 2023 elections, leaving our children to waste away at home or join training camps of ▪️political thugs, ▪️street louts, ▪️Yahoo Boys or ▪️the Yahoo-Plus Ritualism Academy.

◾How long should this strike continue?
◾Who ultimately bears the brunt of this impasse? Mind you, strike will be suspended one day, and, sure, all lecturers would be paid their withheld salaries.

After all is said and done, and the dust is settled, the following questions arise:
(A). who would compensate our children and wards for the days, months, and years wasted on strike?
(B). How would the lost months and their devastating implications be recovered/reversed?
(C). How do you rehabilitate and reorientate students who have lost focus, have got disillusioned or have gone astray as a result of this strike? The idle mind is the devil’s workshop! Is it not so?

Lecturers have been going on strike over the same issue (default on the part of governments in implementing extant agreements) for sometime now. So many strikes in the past over this same issue. Yet, no positive results; governments remain adamant, unmoved as it were. Meanwhile, the future of our kids is gradually being destroyed as there is no hope that governments will repent of their sins of neglect for, and nonchalant attitude towards, tertiary education. It’s therefore obvious, sadly, that strikes have not achieved, and cannot achieve, much in resolving these crises.

With this in mind, ▪️IS NOT HIGH TIME WE THOUGHT OUT OF THE BOX AND CONSIDERED MORE PRAGMATIC RESOLUTION-OPTIONS THAT WOULD HELP TO PERMANENTLY HALT THIS WORSENING SITUATION? ▪️Why do we keep applying the same remedy (strike) that has not given us desired outcomes?
Why? ▪️If (as is obvious) governments do not care about the welfare and future of our children and wards, why not we ourselves show some care? ▪️Can any alternative solutions come without some pain/sacrifice? ▪️If we’re not prepared to make some internal, personal and collective sacrifice, governments will kill tertiary education in Nigeria and we and our kids’ future would be the worse for it.
I respectfully submit that fee-increase is a lesser evil to choose in the circumstances.
I pause, as in off my mic 🎤🎙️
Thank you, sir.
▪️End of the discussion
(May 03, 2022)


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