Enugu State Governor and Chairman of South-East Governors’ Forum, David Umahi, has said that university education is not for everybody.
This was as Umahi stressed that it was unreasonable for the Federal Government led by the President, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) to borrow over N1 trillion to meet the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities.
The governor spoke against the backdrop of the ongoing industrial action by lecturers at the nation’s varsities, when he received a delegation from the Nigerian Police Trust Fund by Dr. Ben Akabueze, in Abakaliki, on Wednesday.
The PUNCH reports that the current ASUU strike has lasted for over five months and might linger, according to education experts.
The governor, who observed education and security were the most challenging problems bedeviling Nigeria, also pointed out that the nation’s education’s system was not properly articulated, adding that the basic education any nation strived to attain was secondary or vocational education.
Umahi said on Wednesday, “Our basic problem in this country remains security, health and education. Let me say a little in education which is in our public domain and which is the ASUU. I think that our education system is not being properly articulated.
“University education is not for everybody and that is the truth. The basic education every country strives to attain is secondary school and vocational schools. These are the basic schools and when you have these qualifications, you will able to use it either to start up something or to be able to use it to be employed.
“There is a need to review our educational system. It mustn’t be for everybody. I am not ashamed that I have first degree and my Deputy is a PhD holder; it doesn’t matter. It is what you bring on board. So, I cannot see how we cannot sit down with our ASUU leaders and iron out this problem about the ASUU strike.
“I have read on social media, newspapers how students got into trouble just by sitting at home or engaging in means of keeping themselves busy instead of being in schools.
“There is no way the country Nigeria will go and borrow N1.1trillion to meet ASUU demand, its quite unreasonable. Are their demands genuine? Yes. But we can start little by little.
“There must be commitment on the side of both parties that look, the ASUU is not asking this to take to their houses so to say. It’s asking for it for our children, to better the infrastructure, to better the lecturers and the students. Yes, but we can start with a fraction of that and then have a programme that will run on the platform of sincerity to address all the lots.
“But let me also say that most of the time, our people have low appetite for maintenance of public works. No matter how much you deploy to these universities unless the users, the industry, the regulators begin to treat public infrastructure as their own in the various universities, it will continue to go bad.
“So, it is important for ASUU to show some understanding and for those who are negotiating on the side of government to also show some understanding. Lets meet ourselves halfway and their open the schools to save the fate of our children.”