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ASUU reiterates call for upward review of education tax

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has reiterated its call for an upward review of education tax to 10 per cent to increase Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) funding from the current N600 billion annually to N3 trillion.

 

ASUU President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, made the call at a one-day workshop on ‘Emerging Areas of Students Needs in Beneficiary Institutions’, organised by the TETFund in Abuja on Tuesday.

He decried the neglect of the education sector, saying Nigeria ranks lowest in education budgets across the West African sub-region.

“We have done survey of West African countries. The least budgetary allocation to education by any country in West Africa is 15 per cent. The highest is 32 per cent.

“We are in a country where we give 4.5 to 7 per cent out of which less than 70 per cent is released. But the Awolowo government was allocating over 30 per cent to education,” he said.

He singled out Enugu, Abia, and Oyo states for earmarking more than 20 per cent of their budgets to the sector.

Osodeke berated many universities’ vice chancellors for their failure to carry necessary stakeholders along in the utilisation of TetFund allocations to their schools.

“The TETFund inviting us as stakeholders to this meeting is an example of how it should be.

“But you remember that when you were allocating money to university VCs, we agreed that they would call stakeholder meetings before that money is utilised.

“We had our National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting some days ago; less than 10 per cent have called for that stakeholder meeting.

“I want to plead that any university that does not take the stakeholders along should not be allowed to have access to the fund. The funds belong to the Nigerian people,” he said.

The ASUU president who also alleged that federal universities in the country are being run illegally without their Councils, lamented the dissolution of the Federal Universities’ Governing Councils by President Bola Tinubu.

Recall that President Tinubu’s administration had in June 2023 dissolved all the governing councils of federal universities in the country.

Federal Universities have been running without Governing Councils for the past eleven months and that has led to crisis in some institutions.

Earlier, the Executive Secretary, TETFund, Sonny Echono, said funding educational activities required careful consideration of different needs and expectations.

Echono said that funding must also be directed at essential programmes that align with the strategic objectives in terms of the outcomes of investment in either physical or content development that the funding usually supports.

“The provision of physical facilities must be accompanied by corresponding programmes that will ensure maximum impact and benefit to the target group.

“As such, the Fund is constantly and critically reviewing its operations and interventions with a view to ensuring that the interventions meet the actual goals that are intended at conception,” he said.

The executive secretary noted that new programmes and intervention lines were introduced, and some innovation or alterations were carried out regarding some existing ones, adding that, where necessary, non-performing ones were dropped.

“In the 2024 disbursement cycle, the Career Services Centre was introduced to complement other programmes in tertiary institutions.

“The Fund considers the establishment of these centres necessary for the development of students’ careers and their employability, which is the raison d’être for establishment of tertiary educational institutions.

“Career services centres have helped students in advanced nations make informed decisions regarding their career paths.

“The centres provide information for students on trends in the job market, opportunities, and requisite skills, as well as linkages with the employment industries, including the alumni of the institutions,” he said.

Echono said the centres also provide students with tools for self-assessment to identify their interests, strengths, weaknesses, and prospects, as well as counselling, guidance, and support for all students.

 

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Michel ADESEWA
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