The Federal Government’s student loan program has been characterized by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) as a scheme to enrich a select group of people who control private institutions across the nation.
Naija News reports that ASUU National President, Emmanuel Osodeke, made this statement to journalists in Bauchi on the fringes of the union’s scholarship ceremony for undergraduate students in the Bauchi Zone on Saturday at the ATBU, Yelwa Campus.
Speaking through his deputy, Christopher Piwuna, Osodeke stated that the proposed student loan need to be transformed into a grant rather than a loan if the government truly intended for it to be that.
He said “Right from the start, we believe that the Nigerian state is capable of funding education in Nigeria. All these issues that have led to the introduction of the loan, the issues of charges in our universities, are a result of poor funding. So, this particular effort by the government is supposed to meet that funding gap in the universities.
“We believe that with discipline, the Nigerian state can fund education adequately. Recent happenings in the country, where, for instance, one member of the National Assembly can take just a part of his allowances would include a N160 million, is a clear sign that if the Nigerian state is serious, it can fund education.
“The leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan, I think, tried to demonstrate that, when his administration agreed to release N200 billion in 2013 as part of the NEEDS Assessment and till this day, 10 years after the release of that money, we still see what that money is doing in this system.
“Just imagine if the government takes this funding seriously. So, we are against the student loan as a form of funding education, we think the loan will go back into the coffers of private individuals who are in government today who own private universities. If the government is serious, they should make grants to institutions and students.”