(Kay Lord) – Just like every other system in Nigeria, over dependence on government for everything is killing our university education. Top universities in the United Kingdom generate income from student fees, government grants and research grants, as well as through charitable fundraising, investments and business activities such as ‘spin-out companies.
Meanwhile, only about a quarter of their income comes from UK student fees. The rest comes from higher fees paid by international students, charitable donations, and investment that Universities make.
Government grants makes up about 30.6% of total revenue for most UK universities. Students fees is about 29.4%. Self-generated income is 20.4% and research grants about 19.6%. It varies with very little margin from University to university but generally speaking, this is the outlook of how universities generate income in the UK.
Therefore, total revenue from non-governmental grants is 69.4% while grants from government is merely 30.6%. In a country that wants to maximise its university educational system, government’s contribution cannot be more than 35% at most. We are in trouble with our university education system in Nigeria because we make universities totally dependent on government for its revenue and running cost.
We need to totally reform our university system including the recruitment process of Vice Chancellors. We have VCs of public Universities sitting down and expecting monthly provisions from the Federal government to pay salaries and enjoy the largesse of office. Our system of administration does not excite nor tax the ingenuity in any man. It makes people lazy.
Recruitment of VCs must take the pattern of recruitment for a multinational where revenue targets are set and potential candidate must be able to show how they would meet the revenue targets. It’s the failure to reform our university system that gave rise to private universities. That’s why private/individually owned university is not popular in countries with a very solid public University system. The rich folks gave major grants to universities instead of thinking of starting their own. Its part of their charitable endeavour.
I am yet to see a country with a robust university system allowing students to attend universities almost for free like Nigeria. University education is not a universal basic education. Not everybody needs a university education to make it in life. That’s why you see a lot of Nigerian university graduates drop their certificate and follow their passion outside of what they studied. If you must have a university education, then you must be ready to pay for it.
Please, let’s not decieve ourselves that Nigerians can’t pay for university education. Nigerian students attending universities in the UK rose from 13,000 in 2018/19 to 21,305 during the 2020/21 academic session. Nigerians paid N152 billion in tuition into UK universities, and Nigeria is the largest overseas market for UK universities amongst other African nations.
Nigerian Government must hands off 60% of their involvement with university education, or give a moratorium of a 10 year withdrawal plan from University funding. Reduce funding every 2 years, recruit VCs that are forward looking and ready to work to get grants and endowment for his/her university. Let our public universities be a tuition paying universities, strengthen professional certification for people with skill, and make it recognisable like ICAN does with accounting. This way people can be proud of their professionalism without a university degree, and be sure they can get a well paying job.
That way only people who really needed to attend a university would do so. Presently, my boss at work here in the UK has no university degree but he’s an experienced hand with a deep knowledge of his industry. He consults for government on reforms in the sector and an authority in his field. Under him, we have people with multiple degrees but we all defer to him because he knows his onions.
What employers are looking and asking for is your certification in technology related field and your experience in that field to get employment.