‘Why private varsities need incentives’
Chairman, Conference of Alumni Associations of Nigerian Universities (CAANU), Richard Oma Ahonaruogho, has challenged the Federal Government to provide incentives to proprietors of private universities, in view of their viable intervention in meeting the educational needs of the nation’s youths, particularly at the tertiary education level.
According to him, government does not only need to encourage, and provide a benefitting business environment to private university operators, but also ensure their inclusion in the allocation of the Tertiary Education Tax Fund (TETFund).
Presenting a paper titled, “A New Dawn-A New Nigeria,” during the CAANU convention, recently held at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU) Bauchi, Bauchi State, Ahonaruogho, said government should rethink its position on private universities so that the country would witness a new dawn.
He said, “While the resources of government is being stretched in all directions hence its inability to adequately fund the establishment of new universities, the private sector, including faith-based organisations seems to me to be the only viable alternative in meeting the growing quest for education at all levels, but especially at the tertiary levels.
“Therefore, more incentives ought to be given to the proprietors of private universities, not because I serve on the Governing Council of the newly established Chrisland University, but because I agree with Chief Afe Babalola, SAN, and Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, who have in recent times called for the inclusion of private universities in the allocation of funds from the TETFund, since all graduates from these private universities, like their counterparts from the federal and state universities are trained to serve the same country.”
Frowning at the stiff requirements for the establishment of new private universities, he said, “The conditions for the establishment of these private universities need not be made too strenuous; particularly the requirement of several hectares of land should be reconsidered. Also, there must be room for specialised universities. Some universities may wish to train middle level manpower and award only diplomas. Even the more established universities can offer executive short courses in writing for which diplomas and certificates can be awarded. It is a new dawn.”
Urging government to establish and adequately fund a “Young Entrepreneurs’ Bank,” for the benefit of Nigerian youths, Ahonaruogho tasked alumni associations across the country, to have a well-structured base for loans and advances to young graduates.
He added that alumni associations if properly harnessed, would provide the needed backbone and substantial source of funding to the universities.
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