Prof Emmanuel Osodeke, President of the Academic Staff Union of institutions, has warned that if the Federal Government does not stop the continual price hike in institutions, 40 to 50 percent of students will drop out within the next two years.
Osodeke stated this on Channels TV on Sunday night while discussing the current state of education in Nigeria.
According to him, the high costs being imposed on students across the country would result in a large number of students dropping out due to their inability to pay the fees.
He said, “If nothing is done about these heavy fees being introduced by schools all over the country, in the next two or three years, more than 40 to 50 percent of these children who are in school today will drop out.”
The varsities’ union president also warned of a looming national problem if his prediction of a massive dropout of students nationwide comes to reality.
According to him, dropping out of school will result in idleness, which could make them easy targets for perpetrators of evil.
“When they drop out, they will become a big feed for recruitment for those who want this country to be ungovernable.
“This is what we are saying, create the environment we have in the 60s and 70s. When I was a student, the government was paying me for being a student. Let’s have an environment where the children of the poor can have access to education.
“School fees of N300,000, how can the children of someone who earns N50,000 a month be able to pay such a fee?”
However, he urged the government to increase budgetary allocation to education to at least 15 percent of the total budget sum.
He lamented that the 3.8 percent allocated to education in the last budget was nothing to write home about, saying with an increase in budget allocation to education, parents would be relieved of the burden of paying high fees for their children.
Speaking further, he expressed pessimism that the student loan policy of the government would fail. He added that for the loan policy to work, it has to be reviewed.
“When you are talking about student loans, you have to be comprehensive. There is nothing to show that it would work.
“There is a need for a review. Check what happened in the past and see how we can move forward. But for us, our idea is that instead of calling it a loan, let us call it a grant.
“If you look at the conditions, 90 percent of the students will not have access to that loan. The condition that you must have parents who earn less than N500,000 per annum [is harsh]. How many people earn less than N500,000 per annum?”, he said.