Dr. Deji Omole, Chairman of the University of Ibadan branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), on Sunday accused the Federal Government of not doing anything to increase access to university education in the country.
Omole who made this accusation while reacting to a report in one of the national dailies that 197,050 qualified candidates were denied admission in just seven public universities, lamented that only about 600,000 students managed into universities in Nigeria yearly out of average of 1.5 million who purchase JAMB forms yearly.
The ASUU boss said it was obvious that despite granting more licences to private universities in Nigeria, the choice destination of many Nigerian students are the public universities that are not being given proper attention by the Federal Government.
He said that it had become obvious that a parent who sends his wards to private university as a civil servant must either be into another business or engrossed in corrupt activities.
Omole said the NEEDS assessment conducted by government had clearly shown that most public universities lacked infrastructure that could make them deliver fully on their mandate of teaching, researching and community servicing.
The University of Ibadan ASUU boss who lamented that rather than increase budgetary allocation to education, the ruling government under President Muhammadu Buhari which promised 15 percent during electioneering 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 University of Ibadan from admitting up to 20,000 candidates if the government increased funding for its overstretched infrastructure, over-laboured lecturers and un- condusive working environment.
“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 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,” he stated.