THE Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila has urged for the establishment of an Education Bank to provide interest-free loans to students in tertiary institutions in order to make funding education at that level more accessible to all.
He also campaigned for the establishment of a Student Loan Scheme in the country.
He made the remarks while delivering the 52nd convocation address at the University of Lagos, UNILAG, on Monday.
The topic of the presentation was “Building Back Better: Creating a New Framework for Tertiary Education in Nigeria in the Twenty-First Century.” In this regard, he stated that he has supported a bill in the National Assembly named Students Loans (Access to Higher Education Bill).
As a lawmaker and politician, he remarked that one of the most common requests he always heard was money for tertiary education, as the future of talented kids could be jeopardized.
“The bill proposes to provide students with interest-free loans.” The repayment of these loans will begin two years after the National Youth Service Corps Scheme is completed. However, we must clearly recognize that public support for any such system will be heavily reliant on tertiary institutions.
“Education is one of the Ninth House of Representatives’ primary legislative priorities.” “For example, we have taken active steps to upgrade many of our public institutions, such as elevating some colleges of education to universities of education,” he stated.
He criticized the current practice of universities relying on government subventions and allocations, calling it extremely inadequate and outdated.
He advocated for university-industry collaboration, as is being done in advanced countries, and achieving positive results.
While not denying that money is a major issue in Nigeria’s education industry, the Speaker believes that developing a circular that will help generate graduates who are ready for the global market is a key priority.
He went on to say that the world has changed and that the country must make concerted efforts to avoid falling behind.
“Tertiary education in Nigeria must be prepared to embrace reinvention and adapt to disruption in order for Nigerian citizens to thrive in this new world, participate fully and productively in the new global economy, and benefit from it rather than be consumed by the technological advancements that are changing our world,” he stated.
The event’s Chairperson, Supreme Court Justice Amina Adamu Augie, stated that today’s adolescents must strive to be leaders who are well-versed in their disciplines.
She scowled at the situation in which some parents would cut corners in order for their children to achieve educational heights that they had the capacity to justify or maintain.
Senator Dr. Lanre Tejuoso, the Pro-Chancellor of UNILAG, also hailed education as a leveler and a means of achieving high heights in life.
Prof. Toyin Ogundipe, the Vice-Chancellor, stated that the institution was always up to the challenge in the sector because it was the first public university to get online when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in the country.