ASUU calls on House of Reps to drop student loan bill, says it won’t work
The Academic Staff of Universities Union (ASUU) has called on the House of Representatives to drop the student loan bill currently before it, saying the bill is completely unnecessary.
The president of the union, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, gave this position in an exclusive interview with the Nigerian Tribune.
He said there was simply no reason for such a bill to have come before the House in the first instance, let alone members who were debating it to become policy in a country like Nigeria with a heavy burden of graduate unemployment.
Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, is the sponsor of the bill.
According to him, it is obvious that most of the graduates in the country, especially those from poor homes with no connection to prominent figures in society, do not get jobs for many years, even up to 10 years or more later. graduation and suggest such a graduate took out a loan of up to 6 million naira or more during their studies, how would they repay that loan?
“And neither should we pretend not to know that such a loan would have matured in about 10 years to more than double the principal amount and so if those students don’t find jobs because getting a job n is not an automatic thing, how would such a graduate repay or his father who earns about 30,000 naira per month as the salary helps repay such a loan?
“So, I think we should all be realistic and get it right in Nigeria because this policy cannot work at least for now and also not in the near future in our country,” he stressed.
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Commenting on government claims about the lack of money to fund education well and which may justify the introduction of high tuition fees in public graduate schools, the ASUU boss said such a claim is not was that misleading.
According to him, it is not that there is no money in the treasury but the political leaders have misplaced the priority in spending it.
He said what political leaders at all levels lack is the political will to commit significant resources to the education sector and more so that the majority of them get their children educated at abroad or, worse, in private schools in the country.
He explained that this is why their annual budgets for education over time have always been less than 10% of their respective budgets, as they feel they have almost nothing to lose.
He said one way out of this scenario that would allow the education sector to stand out and play its part is for government at all levels to fund education well by allocating a tangible percentage of their annual budgets up to 20% or more to education.
He said that was how it was done in developed countries and even in neighboring Ghana.