By Aliyu Sadiq
Privatizing and hiking fees of public universities can only make education unaffordable for the poor and common Nigeria. This will violate the 1999 constitution which states that the duty of the government is to provide affordable and quality education for every citizen. Secondly it will also be contrary to goal 4 of the sustainable development goals (quality education to all).
I understand that the academic standards are dying comparing the last and present century, you’ll notice a huge decline in the standards and quality of graduates Nigerian universities have produced. The government have the power to change the educational perspective of our country but are not just willing to do so. The so called ASUU who claim to be there for the interest of the universities are nothing but armies fighting for their own pockets. All the government need is to change its priorities. You can imagine the billions of naira that is wasted on security especially in the north east. Imagine if the political games of insecurity is dealt with and funds channelled to the educational sector in Nigeria annually. I promise you Nigerian educational sector will become transformed within a period of 10 years.
But a question to ask !!!!
Who is ready to take the bullet and fight for justice and end the grassroot corruption???
Privatizing universities won’t do us any good but harm. Recently a statistics was released on the number of students who graduated with first class at the Nigerian law school. You will be shocked that only 30% of them were from private schools while the other 70% were from public universities. This shows you that despite the exorbitant school fees paid in the private universities, the quality of performance is still higher in the public schools.. So do we really think privatizing our public universities will be the solution to our educational quality decline?
NO I DONT THINK SO!!!
Another thing that can improve standards in our university system is a standardized monitoring and evaluation system for all university funds to be adequately utilized for the purpose they are meant for in terms of strengthening standards. I have seen vice chancellors who have made the VC office a lotto office to make money over night at the expense of the students future. Yes! He is safe because universities feel they are autonomous and can decide how to run their finances and economy. A proper check and audit will go a long way in adequately ensuring that funds are actually used for what they were allocated for.
Lastly, another problem to our academic challenges in Nigeria is we the students ourselves! We are lazy and not ready to learn or add value existing knowledge. I don’t blame Mr president when he called Nigerians youths “lazy”. I get so surprised when I see university graduates who can’t even write or speak good English.. University students find it hard to do assignments by themselves.. University students sometimes don’t even have lesson notes nor PDF text books. And yet we expect to pass and make a revolution to the pool of existing knowledge!!!
Please ask me how?
The worst of it which you all will agree with me is the final year projects.
Do you know that over 60% of students pay someone else to do their projects for them and they are first to post it online to celebrate their completion of their degree program. How can we then have a transformation when the few things we are expected to do but yet fail to do so as a result of our reluctant attitude and laziness. Instead, we channel all faults to our lecturers and the government.
In conclusion, what I am saying is that the government as a result of its greed and corruption, the lecturers, the students and lack of transparency in our educational system have contributed to the downfall in our academic standards but privatization is not in anyway the solution but instead a check and adjustment in our individual defaults.
Aliyu Sadiq is a Public Affairs Analyst.