The minister of state for Education, Prof Tony Gozie Anwukah, has advised Nigerian students to be prepared to pay tuition fees that are credible so as to enjoy more qualitative education of international standard with suitable courses that would be adequate to meet the nation’s requirements.
The statement was made last Saturday at the sixth convocation ceremony of Nile University of Nigeria, Abuja, where he delivered convocation lecture titled ‘Managing Education for Sustainability’.
The minister stated that the standard of university education, having degraded over the years, needs to be reinvented through sincere and practical management.
He clarified that the idea of undergraduates paying sum of N25, 000 in some federal universities as tuition fee is impracticable and will only lead to shoddy academic environment since federal government cannot fully fund universities to meet international standard.
Prof Anwukah said: “The simple reason is that the fund is not there considering enormous developmental challenges faced by the country in terms of provision of infrastructure for other sectors of the economy.
“For better and more virile university education with appropriate courses to meet the needs and aspirations of the country towards achieving appreciable mark in socio-economic growth and development, students need to pay realistic school fees comparable to students in Ghana and other African countries.
“Nigeria cannot continue to behave like a country that lacks manpower while the country has unimaginable number of university graduates seeking for work everyday.
“Realistic payment of tuition fees by university students will provide the system with fuel to fire on all cylinders in the production of international standard that can be exported to other economies to work and make living.
He however suggested that to sustain education adequately and appropriately in Nigeria, it would entail that education must be funded properly.
Also, that stress must be placed on full implementation of policies, as well as the idea of enforcing/stressing consequences for inaction in educational management must properly be put in place.
In another development, he hinted that since managing education for sustainability entailed maintaining education management change in a balanced fashion, there is a serious need to retool the present management structure of education in Nigeria and provision of an integrated approach in the coordination of education among the three tiers of government.
He affirmed: “The involvement of the federal government in primary and secondary education is a misplacement of priority and subjugation of the duties of states and local governments.
“Federal government can support primary and secondary education by providing support funds to sub national government for these important strata of education.
“Primary and secondary school management should be the exclusive preserve of the sub national governments since they are closer to the people and have access to more reliable data for situation analysis and policy formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
“The federal government can provide only direct technical support since such can be very expensive especially when it involves engaging the services of foreign experts for training of teachers.”