The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Bauchi Zone, has emphatically rejected the federal government’s proposed student loan scheme.
Lazarus Maig-oro, ASUU Bauchi Zonal Coordinator disclosed the union’s stance during a scholarship program for indigent students at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), Bauchi.
Maig-oro questioned the feasibility of the loan scheme, expressing concerns over the burden it would place on students. He asserted that non-refundable grants should be provided to Nigerian students instead of loans, highlighting the potential psychological trauma students might endure while studying and facing the prospect of graduating with substantial debts.
“The question is: who will pay the loan? What is the fate of those who cannot access it?” Maig-oro asked . He emphasized that the psychological toll on students could adversely affect their academic performance, creating an additional layer of stress as they graduate with loans exceeding N4 million, without the means to repay.
Criticizing the stringent conditions attached to the loan, Maig-oro pointed out that many students might be unable to access it, leading to a scenario where dropping out of school becomes inevitable. With the current surge in school fees across public universities in the country, numerous students have been unable to resume their studies.
The ASUU Zonal Coordinator highlighted the distress faced by students due to the harsh economic realities in the country, attributing the financial strain to the government’s perceived negligence in funding universities.
“One of the reasons ASUU went on strike in 2022 for eight months was to make the government live up to its responsibilities of funding University education, but unfortunately, parents and students did not support the union to fight this menace collectively and now, students and parents have become victims of what ASUU tried to prevent.” Maig-oro lamented that despite ASUU’s previous efforts to secure adequate funding for university education, insufficient support from parents and students had left them vulnerable to the challenges the union sought to avert.
In a proactive move, ASUU Bauchi Zone announced the awarding of 19 scholarships to indigent students for the year 2023. This initiative, in addition to the 12 scholarships already granted by ASUU National in the six universities comprising the Bauchi zone, reflects the union’s commitment to alleviating the financial hardships faced by students pursuing higher education.