Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, the President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), has expressed concerns about the possibility of a 40 to 50 percent dropout rate among students in the next two years if the Federal Government doesn’t intervene to halt the ongoing fee increases in universities.
Osodeke made these remarks during an interview on Channels TV, where he discussed the current state of Nigeria’s education sector.
ASUU president warns of mass student dropouts
He highlighted that the significant fees imposed on students across the country could lead to a substantial number of them dropping out due to financial constraints.
He stated, “If nothing is done about these heavy fees being introduced by schools all over the country, in the next two or three years, more than 40 to 50 percent of these children who are in school today will drop out.”
The President of the university union also issued a warning about the potential national ramifications if his prediction of a widespread student dropout crisis were to materialize.
He pointed out that students who drop out could become vulnerable to recruitment by individuals or groups seeking to destabilize the country.
Osodeke emphasized the need to create an educational environment similar to that of the 1960s and 1970s when the government provided financial support to students.
He questioned how children of parents earning modest incomes could afford school fees as high as N300,000.
He called on the government to allocate a minimum of 15 percent of the total budget to education, citing the inadequacy of the 3.8 percent allocated in the previous budget.
He argued that increasing budgetary allocation to education would alleviate the financial burden on parents struggling to pay high tuition fees.
Regarding the government’s student loan policy, Osodeke expressed skepticism about its effectiveness and suggested that it needed to be reviewed.
He pointed out that the conditions for accessing the loan, such as the requirement that parents earn less than N500,000 annually, could exclude the majority of students.
He proposed a shift from calling it a loan to considering it as a grant and encouraged a comprehensive review of the policy to make it more accessible to a wider range of students.