Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, National President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), has stated that while a student in the 1970s and 1980s, he was paid by the Federal Government.
He made the statement while urging the government to enhance the education budget.
According to him, the government paid him to study when he was a student during this time period. He stated that the government should raise the education budget so that poor children can also receive an education.
The ASUU president slammed the fee hikes at various public colleges, questioning how the system expects parents earning N30,000 as minimum wage to pay N300,000 in school fees.
Osodeke, who was featured on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, expressed concerns about how parents are expected to pay such heavy fees in the current harsh economic environment saying, if nothing is done about the issue, about 40 to 50 per cent of university students would be out of school in the near future.
When this happens, Osodeke, explained that these students would become willing tools in the hands of those who want to make the “country ungovernable,”
He said, “Today, universities are arbitrarily increasing tuition fees.
“Is that correct in an environment today where the minimum wage is N30,000 per month and where they have to pay rent and pay heavily for transportation? And you are enforcing this thing on the students?
“As a result of this – I can assure you that you can check if nothing is done about this heavy fee being introduced all over the country today – in the next two or three years, more than 40 to 50 per cent of these students who are in school would drop out.
“That is what we are saying: create the environment we had in the ’60s and ’70s.
“When I was a student, the government was paying me for being a student. Let’s have an environment where the children of the poor can have access to education, not closing them. If you say school fees of N300,000, how can the children of somebody who earns N50,000 a month be able to pay such fee?”
The ASUU chieftain therefore called on the government to increase e its educational budget “to at least 15 per cent from last year’s 3.8 per cent.”