To address Nigeria’s education sector’s plethora of challenges, especially the incessant industrial actions by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), stakeholders have asked patriotic Nigerians to channel more investments in the sector.
In separate interviews at the 2022 graduation ceremony of Westerfield College in Lagos on Saturday, the stakeholders called for the government at all levels to increase the education budget and also work on rebuilding trust with lecturers in the universities.
Mr Michael Dosunmu, CEO of Westerfield College, said that the states and federal government need to increase their education budget and apportion it properly to the universities, saying, “central to all of ASUU’s demands is the issue of inadequate funding.”
“There’s a size of the budget that should be allocated to education. And if that’s properly allocated, we’ll then have a situation where government begins to gain ASUU’s trust,” he said, adding also that “The minister of education must be someone that the sector trusts.”
Also speaking, the Lagos State commissioner for finance and chairman of the occasion, Dr Rabiu Olowo, said that every patriotic Nigerian interested in what’s happening in the sector as regards the ongoing ASUU strike must be an advocate for education.
Mr Olowo, who praised the management of the sixth-form college for their “impressive work”, called on stakeholders across the country to double their investments in the education sector, saying that the Lagos State government was “proud of what you’re doing here.”
Founded twelve years ago in 2011, to serve as a “training ground for the university experience”, and with campuses in the cities of Lagos, Kano, and Abuja, Westerfield College has helped over 2,000 students into notable universities abroad.
On financial autonomy for universities, Principal of the college, Dare Falodun, said government must embrace its duty of funding the education sector, citing examples in Germany.
“From the early years all the way to university, education is free. It is not a right but a duty of government to fund education. If universities were allowed to fund themselves, it then means that poor Nigerians won’t be able to send their children to good schools.
“When you look at statistics, China has the highest number of students studying abroad. Why do they do this? Government funds students to schools outside of China, to learn from other countries. Once they get that knowledge, they go back to use same to develop China.”
Mr Faldoun said same is the model applied at Westerfield College. “Students pass from here to schools abroad, learn and come back to develop Nigeria. The keynote speaker for this year’s graduation ceremony passed through Westerfield College to England for her graduate and post-graduate studies before coming back to use her knowledge to develop the country.”