The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) Bauchi zone, has berated the Federal Government for abdicating its fundamental responsibilities of providing unfettered access to higher education for Nigerians.
The ASUU further berated the Federal Government for rather than ensure adequate funding of tertiary education, resorting to students Loan scheme which it said will burdened poor Nigerian parents and deny their children tertiary education.
Bauchi Zone re-echoed that ASUU as a body totally rejects the idea of the Student’s loan, but rather, that government should award grants to students instead of loans which should not be paid back.
The declaration was made in a speech delivered by the ASUU Bauchi Zonal Coordinator, Comrade Lazarus Maigoro, on the occasion of the award of the Indigent Scholarship to University Undergraduate Students in Bauchi Zone held at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), Bauchi on Saturday.
According to him, “The question is, who will pay the loan? What is the fate of those who cannot access it? The psychological trauma the students will be subjected to due to the loan while still on studies will affect their performance negatively.”
Maigoro added that, “The thought that they will graduate with a loan of N4 million and above without the capacity to pay back is another psychological torture on them.
“Furthermore, those who cannot access the loan due to the stringent conditions attached virtually means dropping out of school. Currently, in view of the hike in school fees or charges in public Universities all over the country, many students have not been able to resume,” he added.
He further said that,”ASUU Bauchi Zone is working on getting the statistics of Students who may likely drop out of school at the end of the current session with the hope of making government review its decision on the issue of the loan and replace it with grants.”
The ASUU Zonal Coordinator stressed that, “I can authoritatively say without mincing words, that as we teach these students in the classrooms, we notice quite a number who are distressed due to the very harsh economic realities of our country.”
According to him, “In the case of Federal Universities, the Government seems to have abandoned its constitutional responsibility of funding Universities and left it at the discretion of the various Governing Councils of the Universities to review it at will thereby making some students drop out of school.”
He also said that, “One of the reasons ASUU went on strike in 2022 for eight months was to make government live up to its own responsibilities of funding University education but unfortunately, parents and students did not support the Union to fight this menace collectively and now, students and parents have become victims of what ASUU tried to prevent.
“For this year, 2023, ASUU Bauchi zone is giving 19 indigent students scholarship apart from the 12 already awarded by ASUU National in the six Universities that constitutes Bauchi zone” he added.
ASUU Bauchi zone therefore called on other well-meaning Nigerians to come to the aid of indigent students by complementing what ASLU is doing which will further assist more indigent students to be able to acquire University education.
He stressed that, “We also call on the federal government to rescind its decision on the student’s loan scheme and replace it with grants instead.”
He explained that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has earmarked the 12 of November every year tagged “Heroes Day” to celebrate members of the Union who have made heavy sacrifices while serving the Union.
“In fact, some of them like the late Festus Iyayi of University of Benin, David Jangkam of the University of Jos etc died white on our Union assignment while others like Prof Suleiman Abubakar of ATBU were recognised as living heroes for their contributions to the Union,” he added.
Some of the benefitting students commended ASUU for the kind gesture saying that without the award, they would have dropped out of school.
Parents of the beneficiaries, commemded ASUU and promised that the money will be used for the purpose it is meant for assuring that as parents, they will not relent in making sure that their children accessed education.
By Yemi Kanji
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