Private Universities Want Inclusion in N500bn TETFund
By Ahmed Rahma
The Chairman of the Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Private Universities in Nigeria, Prof. Timothy Olagbemiro, has said private higher institutions deserve to benefit from the N500 billion Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) set aside for tertiary institutions.
Mr Olagbemiro argued that the money should not only be for public universities because the fact that some people attend private higher institutions does not mean they should be discriminated against.
At a recent event, Chairman, Board of Trustees of TETFund, Mr Kashim Ibrahim-Imam, and the Executive Secretary of the organisation, Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, had stated that the fund was meant for public schools.
According to the duo, private tertiary institutions were set up for profit-making and that the fund was meant to make public universities and others surpass private ones in terms of facilities, training, research, among others.
But Mr Olagemiro disagreed, noting that, “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.”
He further added that, “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.”
He submitted that, “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.”