The former Minister of State Education, Emeka Nwajiuba has revealed that the Federal Government is working on a funding structure for public universities in the country as part of moves to tackle the incessant strikes by lecturers in these institutions.
The minister disclosed this on Sunday May 15, 2022 while speaking on a Channels TV programme.
According to him, the government funding of the tertiary institutions in the country isn’t sustainable, however a new scheme has been proposed to President Muhammadu Buhari in which the universities will have a different way of earning money to be able to care for themselves.
Recall, the Minister who resigned his position at Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on Wednesday May 11, 2022 is among the 28 individuals to have purchased the N100,000,000 All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential forms.
Nwajiuba maintained that with the number of public universities in the country, these schools have to get new ways of making money to fund their institutions.
He said; “Because you see, there are only 50 of these federal universities and there are 200 others. However, these 50 alone are more than 75 percent of the number of students in the entire university structure – about 2.2m of them.”
“So, it is important we give them a funding structure; we need to bring a funding structure to the table because this coming hand-in-cap to the Federal Government at all times cannot be continued and is not sustainable,” he argued.
The APC presidential aspirant also stated that “this (a new funding structure) is something I would implement if you give me your mandate to be president.
“I know that even if it is not implemented now, the universities autonomy law needs to be reactivated.”
The former minister’s comment adds to the debates about funding for public universities in the country. Lecturers in these institutions have been on strike since February 14, pushing their demands, which include better funding for universities.
But the APC chieftain believes ASUU should reconsider strike as a means to press home their demands.
“In the last 20 years, we have had nearly 16 strikes. So, my position has not been that ‘Please, ASUU is talking rubbish’,” Nwajiuba said. “No, this is not true. ASUU is making a case for the entire university system.
He, however, said, “the only point of departure is that we have asked ASUU that strikes cannot cure the problem.”
“We need our children back in school. It hurts parents; it hurts us,” the presidential aspirant noted. “My own children are here. I don’t have children in private universities,” he concluded.
Meanwhile the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) have began 2 weeks warning strike which kicked off today, Monday May 16, 2022.
The union said the decision became imperative following the failure of the government to implement the Memorandum of Action (MoA) signed in June, 2021, which informed the suspension of its two-month strike at the time.