The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has said that the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari is doing nothing to increase access to Public University Education in Nigeria.
ASUU said it was obvious that despite granting more licences to private universities in Nigeria, the choice destination of many Nigerian children were the public universities that had been neglected by the federal government.
The union noted that it was glaring that a parent who sends his wards to a private university as a civil servant must either be into another business or engrossed in corrupt activities.
ASUU Chairman, University of Ibadan, Dr. Deji Omole, who spoke with reporters on Sunday in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital while reacting to a report that about 197,050 qualified candidates were denied admission in just seven public varsities, lamented that only about 600,000 students managed into universities in Nigeria yearly out of average of 1.5million who purchased JAMB forms yearly.
Omole said the NEEDS assessment conducted by government had clearly shown that most public varsities lacked infrastructure that could make them deliver fully on their mandates of teaching, researching and community servicing.
He lamented that rather than increase budgetary allocation to education, the ruling government under President Muhammadu Buhari that promised 15 percent in their manifestoes during campaign dragged it downwards to about 7 percent instead of the minimum of 26 percent suggested by UNESCO to government.
Omole said there was nothing stopping the University of Ibadan from admitting up to 20,000 candidates if the government increased funding for its overstretched infrastructure, overlaboured lecturers and incondusive working environment.
He said “If the federal government can employ more academic staff, increase funding for infrastructure to accommodate student and acquisition of up-to-date knowledge materials there is nothing stopping universities from increasing their yearly intakes. But varsities can’t increase their intake yet because when 12 or 15 academic staff are present in a department that needs 35 qualified staff, those present are already overburdened.
“The few that are working are still owed earned academic earned allowances from 2011 to date. So instead of funding education, the government funds private hands. But those denied education access will become those government will pump money to fight insecurity in the future. When a government fails to take the right steps in the present, it will live to regret bad decisions in the future.
“This government has not done enough to give the children of the masses access to quality public education which they all enjoyed” .