• Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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BusinessDay

APC’s deceptive educational policy

Political rallies, citizen engagement and the 2023 elections

The APC-led Federal Government has intensified the debate for students’ loan that was initiated by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila. The debate is now all over again despite the fact that it gathered hot criticism from Nigerians of good conscience when it was first brought to public space.

It’s so frightening that the APC does not understand that tuition-free proposal for higher institutions of learning constitute serious steps towards addressing the issue of mass ignorance the country is faced with today. To even say that this students’ loan is contained in the policy paper of their Presidential candidate who declared that they will institute a pilot student loan which will expand access to education to all Nigerians regardless of their background and also give institutions the ability to charge more cost reflective tuition fees.

In a country of mass unemployment, the APC want students to seek for loan to get higher education and then begin repayment two years after concluding their NYSC programme. It’s pathetic that the APC does not offer to address the issue of the poor funding of the educational sector but rather choose to address the surface than the whole.

As against their claim, students’ loan does not in any way expand access to education. In fact, suggesting that institutions will now charge “cost reflective” tuition fees is sending a clear message to students and parents that the support services that enables students to access education and succeed in higher institutions of learning will no longer be provided by the government. The APC has shown that they are determined to leave students with high amounts of debts. Nigerians must therefore resist this attempt to put them under the burden of eternal debt.

Read also: 2023: Crack in APC as North East youths threaten to abandon Shettima

One could conclude that the Wale Babalakin Committee report is what the APC and their Presidential candidate aimed at enforcing. We all read how the Committee suggested/recommended the introduction of very high tuition of #1m and also suggested that an education bank that would grant loans to students for the purpose of paying the high tuition be established. This is simply what the APC aimed at cementing by taking the hands of government off education under the guise of education loan.

Their claim that the beneficiaries of the students’ loan must begin repayment two years after completion of NYSC programme fails to put into consideration the obvious reality that a larger percentage of Nigerian graduates are unable to find jobs years after leaving school and that those with the initiative to start small businesses lacks enabling environment to start a thriving business.

Nigerians would be afforded another opportunity at the poll to reject the APC and their plan of putting the burden of eternal debt on their strained shoulders. Atiku Abubakar has promised to “invest to improve access to qualitative as well as industry-relevant education with access, equity and quality receiving prominent attention” and he has also promised to empower the “federal ministry of education to focus on its core functions of policy design, standardisation, monitoring and evaluation.”

Israel writes from Ibadan, Nigeria.