Privately-owned universities in the country have faulted the stance of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETfund, that money accruing to it is only meant to develop public tertiary institutions in the country and that private tertiary institutions should look elsewhere for financial assistance and support.
The Chairman, Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Private Universities, Prof. Timothy Olagbemiro, stated this in an interview with Vanguard yesterday.
Olagbemiro spoke in a.reaction to the assertions by the Chairman, Board of Trustees of TETfund, Alhaji Kashim Ibrahim-Imam, and the Executive Secretary of TETfund, Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, that the fund is meant to only service public institutions.
Speaking last week at a forum in Lagos, the duo said private tertiary institutions were set up for profit-making and that the Fund is meant to make public universities and others surpass private ones in terms of facilities, training, research among others.
However, Olagbemiro, who is also the Vice-Chancellor of Edwin Clark University in Delta State, said such a stance was detrimental to the development of Nigeria.
“We are all Nigerians. The fact that some people attend private higher institutions does not mean they should be discriminated against. Private universities train students for the Nigerian economy, not for private companies. They have this argument that the majority of Nigerian undergraduates are in public schools, I hope they also know that the bulk of the money they rake in is from taxes paid by the minority rich.
“Their stance is not fair. The country. cannot move forward that way. We are entitled to the same treatment. It may interest them to note that not all students in private universities are from rich homes. It is only that their parents want quality education for them. Some parents are struggling to keep their wards in such schools.
“Workers in private universities also pay taxes from which TETfund gets its finance. And also it is not correct to say private universities are for profit-making, if they are, they would charge fees that would make them. unaffordable, even to the rich,” he said.
Olagbemi added that since TETfund is targeting a budget of N500 billion next year, part of it should be used to assist private higher institutions.
Vanguard News Nigeria