By Meletus EZE
The Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council, University of Lagos (UNILAG), Dr Wale Babalakin, on Wednesday said Federal Government needs about N2 trillion annually to properly fund tertiary education.
Babalakin made the disclosure at the 20th Anniversary and 2018 Annual Lecture/Exhibition Series of the School of Technology, Yaba College of Technology, Lagos.
He spoke as the Guest Speaker on “Technical Education and the Industry: Bridging the Gap for National Development.’’
Babalakin decried the poor funding of the nation’s tertiary institutions.
“The funds being released by the Federal Government to each institution in the country is inadequate.
“Government must increase its funding of the nation’s tertiary education,’’ he said.
Quoting statement by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), he said about 3,000 dollars (N1.08 million) was required annually to train an under-graduate student.
He said that the University of Lagos for instance, needs about N48 billion to train its students annually, but only received N10 billion, which he said, was inadequate.
The Unilag pro-chancellor said that the total funds released in the 2017 budget to the sector was N1.5 trillion.
“The only way the county can get out of poverty is through technical advancement,’’ he said.
Babalakin said the Federal Government should carry out total reform in the education sector.
According to him, the only way we can fund education is to aggregate our resources.
He said, “Government can create an education bank which will provide about N1 million loan to undergraduates to be paid back in five years upon graduation, with about five per cent interest.
Babalakin decried the dearth of development in the nation’s tertiary institutions.
“In the past, secondary schools laboratories were better than laboratories in most universities and polytechnics today.
“Without technology, you are wasting your time.
“In the past, heads of major companies in the country were occupied by Nigerians; but today, there is no major company in Nigeria that is headed by a Nigerian.
“I am worried when people say we don’t have qualified Nigerians to occupy some certain positions or carry out some jobs.
“Nigerians still import expatriates and artisans to carry out jobs which can be done by Nigerians; no expatriate will genuinely want to develop your country.
“We cannot create a country, except we create the technical education that will transform it,” he said.
Also, the Rector of Yabatech, Mr Obafemi Omokungbe, congratulated the school for its outstanding journey so far.
Omokungbe said theme of the lecture was in perfect agreement with the vision of his administration in the next four years, focussing on improving the human resources and infrastructure facilities in the college.
Earlier, Mrs Bola Dada, the Dean, School of Technology, Yabatech, said the school had been in the fore-front of academic brilliance, producing the best overall students in the college at the National Diploma (ND) and Higher National Diploma (HND) levels.
“With a strong drive and unreserved dedication toward excellence, our school has grown in leaps and bounds producing diplomats in various fields.
“They have proven their mettles and become captains of industries, entrepreneurs and government officials.