Pro-chancellor of Western Delta University, Oghara, Delta State, Prof. Andrew Onokerhoraye, has called on the relevant authorities in the country to amend relevant laws establishing the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, ETF, to enable it contribute to the development of private universities in the country.
The appeal is coming on the heels of the call by the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Peter Hugbo, on Nigerian parents to stop sending their children to Ghanaian Universities, insisting that they were not in any way better than Nigerian universities.
Onokerhoraye, a former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Benin, at the First convocation of the university, insisted that private universities have the same mandate to provide skilled man- power to the economy and therefore, were entitled to funds from ETF.
He said: “However, public universities are funded by federal and state governments with tax payers’ money. Private universities generate their own funds with little or no aid from bodies or individuals, yet we must play by the same rules in terms of infrastructure, admissions, teaching and research as prescribed by National Universities Commission, NUC, and Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB.
“Public universities have ready access to intervention from Tertiary Education Trust Fund, while private universities are excluded. Private universities deserve a share of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund. We need to understand the fact that whether federal, state or private universities, our goals are the same, that is, to produce educated workforce that will meet Nigeria’s need in the 21st century.”
He stressed the need for the three tiers of government to increase funding for education in the country especially in this era of knowledge-based economy.