NAUS Deputy Secretary General, Isioma Ogochukwu, gave the warning while delivering a lecture entitled: “If Education Cannot Be Free, It Should Be Affordable,” at a Student Leaders’ Symposium held in Akure, the Ondo State capital.
The National Association of University Students, NAUS warned politicians, especially governors and governorship aspirants in the 2019 general election, to stop deceiving the masses that if elected they will provide free education for the people.
Ogochukwu said the governorship aspirants should ensure they meet up with the 26 per cent UNESCO recommended benchmark, if elected, instead of making empty promises.
He said: “Politicians, particularly those aspiring to be governors; should stop deceiving the masses that, if elected, they would provide free education.
NAUS is of the opinion that they should rather devote their time and energy, and concentrate more on meeting up with the 26 per cent UNESCO recommended benchmark for education, when elected.”
The NAUS Deputy Secretary General added that time has come for Nigeria to readjust its education sector to make it more attractive and capable of meeting the aspirations of the future leaders.
Ogochukwu said: “We welcome NEC’s decision to declare state of emergency in the education sector. We, therefore, urge the President to quickly implement such decision. Once implemented, all state governors must take urgent steps to revamp the sector. Nigeria’s education sector is in a pitiable state and calls for total overhaul.
Time has come for the Nigerian government to rise and do what others elsewhere do to propel their universities to institutions of national relevance, capable of fulfilling their national aspirations.
Lack of proper funding, inadequate facilities, lack of scholarships for research, failure of successive governments to invest adequately in education, poor leadership, uncontrolled population, poor working conditions and environment in our universities, among others, are factors that have contributed to the dwindling state of the Nigerian education sector.”
Ogochukwu, however, argued that all hope is; not lost in Nigeria’s education sector, saying that the leaders, policy makers; key players and top decision makers must rise to restore the lost glory of education in Nigeria.
He said: “All hope is not lost. We as Nigerians and leaders in the education sector, have vital roles to play; in contributing our quota to the development of Nigeria’s education sector.
Nigeria’s educational administrators cannot afford to fold their arms. Action should be taken, if truly the young ones would be leaders of tomorrow. They need to be; adequately equipped for the challenges ahead.
And it is not as if the leaders are; not aware of this or the advantage of a sound education, they only prefer to extend that to their children/wards. They prefer to send their children abroad for education.
You now ask, where would these children that have been; so trained abroad work after graduation? It is clear that those societies would not absorb all of them. In that case, they would come back home to preside or work alongside those with poor; or lower standard of education.
We do not need a soothsayer to tell us that there would be a disconnect. Dignitaries at the symposium include Professors, Heads of Departments, Faculty Presidents, Student Union Leaders, University Students and Heads of Ministries.