Chairman of the Committee of Provosts of Colleges of Health Sciences and Technology of Nigeria, Dr Bayo Ojo, has called on the Nigerian government to ensure the implementation of the right to education policy of the United Nations.
At the American Heritage University, Southern California programme in Abuja for the award of doctorate degree to six Nigerians, Ojo said it was disheartening that some states in Nigeria use Education Tax Fund (ETF) to support other institutions.
“Majority of all nations in the world, if not all, make elementary education free and compulsory in order to fulfill Article 26 of United Nations Declaration of December 10, 1948.
“Subventions are released monthly to tertiary institutions in Nigeria, though grossly inadequate in some states.
“Both government and private individuals or organisations provide formal education to citizens. Every government has special intervention programmes for tertiary institutions for the purpose of staff training, maintenance of facilities, procurement of equipment, and infrastructure. China is the best in this regard as they give special funds to all public and private owned tertiary institutions. Whereas Nigeria is one of the most defective countries in this regard,”Ojo said.
While urging the federal government to review its TETFUND Act to accommodate Colleges of Health Sciences and Technology which he said was the first higher institution established in Nigeria by 1920 (as School of Hygiene, Yaba Lagos) he noted that from time immemorial, the school had been producing middle level health and medical workers that serve in rural areas where 70 per cent of Nigerians are dwelling.
“TETFUND should also include private tertiary institutions in their funding schedule, knowing fully well that their products also render service to the nation in various sectors of the economy,” Ojo said.
On the way forward, Ojo said Nigeria must adopt an education system that acknowledges public and private providers and has accountability mechanisms to strengthen service delivery.
“Countries do actually believe in making citizens have access to quality education as more of a human right but poor funding in developing nations render them to have it as a mere lip service commitment.
“According to Right to Education Initiative’s online publication of 2021, to implement the right to education effectively, states should ensure that a sufficient proportion of the national budget is allocated to education financing and that the money is used effectively and equitably to guarantee education for all, as well as redress inequalities,” he added.
In his remarks, founder of Global Scholarship Trust, Dr Adeniyi John said American Heritage University, Southern California was established to provide an affordable education adding that they have gained a global reputation based on that.
One of the award recipients, Saratu Abdullahi, said Nigerians should know that humanity is the only thing they have, adding that they should help people in prison.
“I have a brother who went to prison without committing any crime and it made me pick up this area to support similar people,” Saratu added.