The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) Bauchi Zone has strongly criticised the government’s lack of adequate funding for federal universities, attributing it to the escalating dropout rates among students. ASUU firmly rejected the idea of student loans, advocating instead for government grants to support students.
During the recent Indigent Scholarship Award ceremony at Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU) in Bauchi, Comrade Lazarus Maigoro, the ASUU Bauchi Zonal Coordinator, expressed concern over the adverse effects of student loans on academic performance and the psychological stress it inflicts on students. He emphasized the necessity of providing grants to ease the financial burden on students and prevent future academic hurdles.
Maigoro highlighted ASUU’s commitment to supporting financially challenged students, citing instances where students faced challenges paying fees and charges, leading to dropouts. The union’s scholarship initiative aims to alleviate these financial burdens and ensure students’ educational aspirations are realised.
“The question is, who will pay the loan? What is the fate of those who cannot access it? The psychological trauma the students will be subjected to due to the loan while still on studies will affect their performance negatively.The thought that they will graduate with a loan of N4 million and above without the capacity to pay back is another psychological torture on them.
“Furthermore, those who cannot access the loan due to the stringent conditions attached virtually means dropping out of school. Currently, in view of the hike in school fees or charges in public Universities all over the country, many students have not been able to resume.
“ASUU Bauchi Zone is working on getting the statistics of Students who may likely drop out of school at the end of the current session with the hope of making government review its decision on the issue of the loan and replace it with grants.”
“I can authoritatively say without mincing words, that as we teach these students in the classrooms, we notice quite a number who are distressed due to the very harsh economic realities of our country.
“One of the reasons ASUU went on strike in 2022 for eight months was to make government live up to its own responsibilities of funding University education but unfortunately, parents and students did not support the Union to fight this menace collectively and now, students and parents have become victims of what ASUU tried to prevent.
“For this year, 2023, ASUU Bauchi zone is giving 19 indigent students scholarship apart from the 12 already awarded by ASUU National in the 6 Universities that constitutes Bauchi zone,” Comrade Lazarus said.
Comrade Ibrahim Inuwa, the ATBU Branch Chairperson, reiterated ASUU’s dedication to advocating for quality tertiary education and pledged the continuation of the annual scholarship program.
The recipients of these scholarships lauded ASUU for the invaluable support, acknowledging that without this assistance, their educational pursuits might have been compromised.
He noted that the scholarship award which is a yearly event will always seek out brilliant but indigent students for recognition and award.