Federal Government Set to Grant Autonomy to Universities

A new funding model for tertiary education is being explored by the federal government, which will allow universities to have more autonomy in finding alternative sources of finance for their activities.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, at the opening ceremony of the 2021/2022 Nigeria’s Annual Education Conference (NAEC) on Monday in Abuja. The conference, which has the theme, “Implementation of Education 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Nigeria,” was organised by the Federal Ministry of Education, in partnership with its development partners and other stakeholders.

The Minister urged the education sector stakeholders to collaborate with the Federal Ministry of Education to devise innovative ways of enhancing funding and ensuring inclusive, equitable, quality education and life-long opportunities for all.

He also expressed his concern over the persistent attacks on students in the country, citing the recent brutal killing of a female nursing student of the Federal University, Oye-Ekiti, (FUOYE), Miss Atanda Modupe Deborah.

Mamman commended the vision of the conveners, saying that the conference aligns with President Bola Tinubu’s aspiration of promoting technical and vocational education as a means of addressing the challenge of youth unemployment and underemployment in the country.

He said: “As you all know, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has publicly declared his commitment to overhaul the education sector as a matter of priority.

”It is, therefore important that the Federal Ministry of Education and all stakeholders in the sector work together to see this vision come true. The day of long declarations are over, this time, we must work the talk.

“Today’s conference provides an opportunity for me to meet you, the pillars of the Nigerian education system and for us to restate our resolve to implement fundamental changes in the education sector for the benefit of the young, adult and the entire society. Your presence at this event at short notice is an indication of the importance you attach to the growth and development of the sector in Nigeria. Your presence, in this regard must be appreciated.

“The theme for this conference ‘Implementation of Education 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Nigeria’ will always remain relevant until our country achieves 100% of the targets set in the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 and beyond to education related indicators and targets of Agenda 2060 of the African Union.

“As a signatory to the SDG 2030 and AU Agenda 2060, Nigeria must continue to demonstrate it’s commitment to achieving these goals through leadership and ownership of the implementation process. The Education sector is one of the line sectors that ensure that planning and budgeting in the country are within the framework of the SDGS.

“I am also happy to note that the technical sessions have been structured to address very contemporary and topical issues in the education sector in Nigeria. Discussions to be held on Tertiary education in Nigeria which is expected to focus on emerging trends including university autonomy and Students Loans Fund as well as education financing aligns perfectly with President Tinubu’s vision for the sector.

“Mr. President is determined among others to initiate a new creative means of funding tertiary education by granting universities the autonomy to explore new sources of financing their activities.

“In the same vein, your deliberations on enhancing entrepreneurial skills, vocational and technical education in Nigerian schools directly speaks to Mr. President’s vision of promoting technical and vocational education as a means of absorbing the millions of young school leavers who complete primary and secondary schools every year but cannot get admission to universities, other tertiary institutions or employed with ease.”