Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, National President, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), speaks with SaharaReporters on the choice of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), which not too long ago authorised 160 and 140 because the cut-off marks for 2020/2021 private and non-private college admissions, amongst different points.
The approval of 160 because the cut-off mark for 2020/2021 college admissions has attracted criticisms, what led to the discount of this cut-off mark?
They determined after they met with the management of universities in Nigeria. The management consists of vice-chancellors and registrars. From our information of the system, we imagine that no public college in Nigeria would willingly admit anyone beneath 160 (UTME rating) however as for personal universities, they want low cut-off marks to entice college students.
You would have seen that though now we have over 70 non-public universities in Nigeria, they nonetheless have lower than 5 per cent of the scholars’ inhabitants. What which means for them is that they may run out of enterprise if they don’t entice extra college students. That is why now we have been advocating that the main target needs to be on the general public college; by addressing high quality schooling in Nigeria.
This would be sure that the youngsters of the poor don’t drop out of the schooling system.
Private universities, basically, are established to fulfill the wants of the elites. When you have a look at the construction of these universities, hardly will you see the youngsters of the poor admitted there.
The kids of the poor are usually not there; the youngsters of the elites are there and so they can do something to make sure that they preserve them in enterprise. Private universities are basically enterprise centres and that’s the reason you get every kind of stories coming from there.
Maybe you may title one or two which have managed toscale the hurdles of toeing the road of high quality however now we have our reservations about them. More importantly, if the Nigerian authorities ought to do what we ask of them, if they need to meet our demand to repair public universities in Nigeria in the present day; I can guarantee you that personal universities will fizzle out.
It is due to that worry that JAMB should bend backwards to accommodate their curiosity. That low cut-off mark is to appease homeowners of personal universities, not public ones.
Do Nigerian universities have the power and capability to confess extra college students because of the decreased cut-off mark?
It just isn’t in regards to the lack of services that hinder universities from admitting extra college students. It is just an issue of the federal government not residing as much as expectations. The authorities is establishing extra universities on daily basis; two universities of transportation had been established and the Army college in Biu. The National Assembly is pushing that they’ve campuses in each geo-political zone.
What we’d like are usually not essentially new universities however an growth, renovation of the prevailing ones, stocking their libraries and equipping their laboratories such that we are able to have state-of-the-art services to coach 21st-century graduates.
But when the federal government is busy proliferating universities that they don’t have the plan to fund, they’re compounding the issues.
The 12 universities established by the Goodluck Jonathan administration are like disaster centres now, lower than 10 years after they had been created.
Why would the federal government set up universities that they do not have plans to fund? In different climes, once you set up a brand new college, you’ll have one thing like a five-year plan to develop the college, however that hardly occurs right here. Once they create a brand new college by fiat, they may flip to TETFUND to get cash for the take-off. The 12 new universities established by the Jonathan administration, took cash from TETFUND.
When we preserve proliferating establishments that we do not plan to fund, we compound the issue of public schooling and it looks like we do not have the curiosity of the folks at coronary heart.
What are the opposite points that haven’t been addressed?
Our politicians in Nigeria have turned universities into constituency tasks that they must take again to their constituencies. They are speaking about campuses for Army University, the Navy-University is developing, and the Air Force University is within the pipeline as effectively.
At the tip of the day, they may also have campuses. Lawmakers on the National Assembly who’re shifting the movement for having them in every geo-political zone need the campuses to be positioned of their villages. That is the extent of recklessness with the circle of politicians in Nigeria.
They haven’t got the curiosity of the system on the coronary heart in any other case what we’re witnessing in the present day in Nigeria’s public college system shouldn’t be taking place. They are turning universities into nursery and first faculties such that anyone can simply get up in the present day and say, “I want to have one in this neighbourhood.”
We have to position an embargo on establishing new tertiary establishments and are available again to our settlement that they may re-fertilize current public universities with a complete of N1.3tn.
If the federal government had saved religion with our settlement with them in 2013 that they may inject funds into universities in Nigeria, by now, we’d have seen a big turnaround. Our laboratories would be capable of reply to emergencies as now we have seen with COVID-19.
Our hostels are accommodating 12 as a substitute of four and college students are sleeping in shifts. We discovered that chemistry laboratories are utilizing kerosene stoves as a substitute of burners and so they fetch water to the laboratories. You can think about the type of outcomes that can come out from such a laboratory.
What needs to be finished?
The smartest thing for the federal government to do is to declare a state of emergency on the Nigerian schooling system, notably on college schooling as a result of that’s the crowning glory of schooling. From college schooling, you’ll start to see cascading results and it might rub on decrease ranges.
That is the easiest way to ensure the way forward for schooling within the nation in any other case, we’d proceed to bop within the circle of ignorance and we will probably be producing graduates that we can’t vouch for.