A former Vice-Chancellor of the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, Ondo State, Prof. Femi Mimiko, has backed the newly introduced student loan scheme by the Federal Government.

The don said the development would give the universities an opportunity to charge tuition which would consequently enhance the financial stand of the institutions. He pointed out that running university education for free was no longer realistic.

Mimiko stated this at the 6th annual registry lecture he delivered at the Elizade University, Ilara Mokin, Ondo State.

The lecture was titled ‘ Reform imperatives in the governance structure of tertiary institutions in Nigeria.’

The don recalled that tuition fees in the varsities were abolished by the Federal Government in the 1970s due to the availability of much revenue from oil and was included in the 1979 Constitution and later in the 1999 Constitution (as amended) but saying the “whole initiative entered into a quandary by the time the ability of the crude oil-based economy to generate funds, due to complications associated with the global crude oil market, was greatly degraded.”

He said, “Thus, the nation was confronted with a situation in which the government could not go back to the no-tuition-in-universities policy, yet is incapable of providing the needed funds to fill the gap. By the season of this, Nigerian public universities, especially federal universities, are now in a very peculiar situation in which proprietorial funding is receding, and the operators of the system are not permitted to charge tuition fees.

“This is why the idea of a loan scheme to be floated by the government, such as, would allow every undergraduate that requires funds to access such, to meet their tuition fees commitment, is sorely needed. This would afford the universities the latitude to charge for tuition, thus ensuring that they stand on a better funding pedestal.”

In his remarks, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Olukayode Amund, who described the registry as an important part of any university, urged other faculties in school to take a cue from the registry department lectures to organise their own lectures.

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