By Abolade Ogundimu/Yahaya Isah
Abuja – Prof. Taofeek Ibrahim, Vice-Chancellor, Al-Hikmah University, has called on governments and corporate organisations to assist in funding private universities.
Ibrahim made the call on Sunday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
He said that this would reduce school fees and boost human capital development.
According to him, private universities are charging higher than their public counterparts because it costs a lot to provide qualitative and steady education.
“The current school fees are due to payment of salaries for workers and researchers which are to be operated at high level.
“Public schools pay lesser fees because government subsidised costs of infrastructure, pay workers’ salaries and provision of other materials.
“Proprietors of private universities are not making profit rather they are assisting the government for human capital development.
“We’re finding it difficult to run private universities due to inadequacy of funds and it is only when we have funds that we can ensure high level of teaching and research.
“Once government is able to make inputs in terms of additional funding, it means costs will reduce and it will go a long way to reduce the students’ school fees.
“If we have support from private organisations as their Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR), it will afford more youths the ability to gain admissions into private universities because the school fees will be highly subsidised, ‘’ he said.
The vice-chancellor, therefore, said that extension of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) to private tertiary institutions should be highly considered.
“It is also important that private universities have access to TETFund because the parents of the students are among the tax payers.
“Governments at all levels invest millions of naira to build laboratories in its institutions but private institutions don’t have access to such investments by government.
“All that add up to their charges; then you will want to look for the life span of that building. If it’s 20 years, check the cost of that building for one year; then you add the cost of salaries in one year,’’ he said.
NAN reports that over 1.7 million persons apply for the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) examinations yearly.
The applicants write Unified Matriculation Tertiary Examination (UMTE) but about one-third are able to get admission into tertiary institutions in the country.