The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), has revealed that Nigerian citizens spend about N1.6 trillion yearly in paying tuition fees abroad, all because of the degrading and substandard state of tertiary education in Nigeria.
President of ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, made the disclosure while addressing newsmen on the sidelines of a meeting of the Central working committee of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC).
The meeting which was held in Abuja had in attendance; all Presidents and General Secretaries of all its affiliate unions.
The state of education in Nigeria was chief among others, the meeting deliberated upon.
Prof. Osodeke who lamented that the education system in the country was fast deteriorating and falling from global standards expressed pains that such a humongous amount would help address the majority of the crisis in the Nigerian University System (NUS) that has continued to flare industrial disharmony.
According to him, “Let’s work on the system in such a way that if it works our university can compete with any other university in the world in terms of staff and students.
“When you go to other universities even in Benin Republic, you have multiple people from different countries at the university with Multiple ideas but in Nigeria, we have refused to even look at the states; we have 90% of staff from the state and that’s the problem we’re having.
“No foreign student is coming in here, so many of our Nigerian students are moving abroad.
“A report earlier this year by the Central Bank stated that Nigerians spend N1.6trn every year to pay school fees outside. That money could revamp this system if we allow it to work. So those are the major reasons why we are on strike.”
Reacting to the recent insistence by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige to have done what many could not do to forestall strikes by ASUU, Prof. Osodeke however, accused the minister of destroying the University system under his watch.
“What has he (Ngige) done? How many universities in Nigeria do we have today that can attract students from outside the country.
“During his (Ngige’s)tenure, the Nigerian University has been reduced to nothing. I give you an example, the university is an autonomous community. There is no university in the world where lecturers’ salaries are paid by a ministry but today if the Vice-Chancellor sees a very high-class professor he wants to employ he has to go to the office of the head or service to get permission.
“That is the meanest thing that happened to us and he said he has done something. What has he done? He has destroyed the system.”
On the ranging controversy of acceptance of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) in place of the government’s Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS), the ASUU president maintained there was an ulterior motive behind the acceptance of a platform that has scored a total of 99.3 per cent in all tests conducted on the platform including an Integrity test.
“For any publicly funded public programme that scored 99.3% before it will come to the minister who set up the committee for him to say he hates it, it tells you that there is an ulterior motive and that ulterior motive you can track to that particular minister.”