The Vice Chancellor of the Redeemers University, Prof. Debo Adeyewa, on Friday advised the Federal Government to grant education loan to university students to enable them tackle school fees problems in their various institutions.
Adeyewa gave the advice while addressing State House correspondents after a visit to the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo by the university's Governing Council. He said that already, his university, though private, had been subsidising education.
``Education is expensive anywhere in the world. You need to accept that education is expensive.
``People talk about the fact that the poor cannot access education; we are keeping the poor poor(er) by not helping them to access education.
``In the private universities, if I tell you our budget for payment of salaries all the fees that we gather is not even enough to pay salaries and yet we must build infrastructure, we must do some other things.
``We contribute even to pay fees for students; so we are actually subsidising education; it is expensive.
``Now, let’s look at this, what we give to students is on the higher side because education is something that you need to give in qualitative and quantitative terms.
``So, what we are trying to say is that government can help by assisting, by giving education loans to students to assist them.
``By saying that education is free like the Federal Government is saying, it is not going to be sustainable.
``If education is free and you are not really giving the much money that is needed, you know what you are doing, you are offering university education at the primary school level.
``Quality and quantity must agree. ‘’
According to him, many private universities in the country do not make profit, yet, have to provide infrastructure, quantitative and qualitative education.
``Private universities are actually coming and you don’t know actually how many universities are actually making gains.
``We are actually making sacrifices and we are making it cheap.’’
Adeyewa said that the private universities deserved some kudos for rescuing the quality of education in Nigeria.
He decried the penchant for Nigerian parents to send their children abroad for tertiary education in spite of having to pay more.
``Recently, I saw an advertisement that it is only 3,500 dollars for fees for (a) university outside the country.
``How much do we charge in this country?
``Parents have the money to send their children abroad but when it comes to Nigeria they want it free.
``Ghana is progressing more in education than Nigeria because they are tackling education at the grassroots.
``We need to overhaul the education system in Nigeria.’’
According to the vice chancellor, universities have important role to play in the change mantra of the present administration by promoting excellence and making discoveries.
He specifically recalled the role played by his university in fighting Ebola and Lassa fever.
``That is what the universities should be known for: community service, dissemination of knowledge and service to humanity.’’
Also speaking with the correspondents, the Pro Chancellor of the university, Mr Tokumbo Adesanya, stressed the need for universities' administrators to change their mind set in order to work in tandem with the aspirations of the government.
``The universities in the country should be serious to contribute to the effort in the change that is taking place generally,’’ he said.
He said the council came to pay homage to the Vice President, as one of the founding members of the university, to congratulate him for his achievement in government so far.