The president of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Emmanuel Osodeke, has warned the federal government about the possibility of 50 per cent of students dropping out of universities within the next two years due to the continuous tuition hike.
Mr Osodeke warned while speaking on the current state of the Nigerian education sector on Channels TV on Sunday night.
He explained that the heavy fees imposed on students by their respective universities would lead to a massive dropout if many cannot afford their tuition.
“If nothing is done about these heavy fees being introduced by schools all over the country, in the next two or three years, more than 40 to 50 per cent of these children who are in school today will drop out,” Mr Osodeke said.
Mr Osodeke explained that a national crisis looms if his prediction comes to fruition. He stated that the dropout students would become willing tools for those who seek to make the country ungovernable.
“This is what we are saying: create the environment we have in the 60s and 70s. When I was a student, the government was paying me for being a student. Let’s have an environment where the children of the poor can have access to education.
“School fees of N300,000; how can the children of someone who earns N50,000 a month be able to pay such a fee?” he stated.
Mr Osodeke urged the federal government to increase the budgetary allocation to education to 15 per cent of the total budget. He said such an increase would ease the burden of paying high school fees on parents and make education accessible to all.
On the government’s student loan policy, Mr Osodeke expressed pessimism on its viability, stating that it must be properly reviewed for the approach to work.
“When you are talking about student loans, you have to be comprehensive. There is nothing to show that it would work,” Mr Osodeke said
“There is a need for a review. Check what happened in the past and see how we can move forward. But for us, our idea is that instead of calling it a loan, let us call it a grant.” he added.
In July, Mr Osodeke advised that the way out of the issues created by the hike in tuition fees is to adopt a holistic approach and enact people-centred policies.
Meanwhile, in early September, the management of the University of Lagos announced a reduction of its fees after meeting the representatives of the National Association of Nigerian Students.