Thursday, June 21, 2012

Interested in eradicating acute student poverty?

Culled from my post on Youth-Skill-Work

No students’ loan. No students’ loan in this part of the world where I grew up. If you want a good education, then you must be ready to pay for it. I’m oblivious of any existing government loans. Okay, they award scholarship, it trickles down to the bottom of the pyramid. Only a handful of people get those. That does not eliminate the fact that funding is still a big issue where qualitative education is concern.

I almost jumped out of my seat when I first read Ayodeji Abiola’s articles about how to get the big money into Higher Education System in Nigeria (applicable to the rest of Africa as well). In series, the writer shed interesting light on the challenges of funding high ed, how it affects the quality of graduates churned out into the labour force and of course suggested ways to tackle the challenge by encouraging government-private partnership in getting the big money into higher education. He also added the need for students not to seat on their hands and wait for the big money from private sector. As a matter of fact, we can all work while we study, or can we not? That is the first step in eradicating acute student poverty while sharpening the entrepreneurial/work-experience. It is a win-win.

Here are my favourite quotes from Ayodeji’s articles:
Who should pay for higher education?
“Presently, post-secondary education has become elusive to many citizens for various reasons. These reasons usually include cost and inadequate spaces at the schools. ”

“…if quality education is important for quality job performance and by extension the economy; if majority of students in our higher educational institutions are largely unable to access quality education; if this lack of quality is partly but significantlyhinged on poor funding occasioned by low earning by the public institutions, perhaps employers, particularly the ones with deep pockets who are major beneficiaries of education should consider paying for higher education.”

Ways that employers (organizations, corporations, etc) should pay for higher education in Nigeria:

"All over the world, including developed nations, corporate organizations fund and support education through investments in educational research that benefits their operations. In the case of Nigeria, most multinationals, operating in the country do little of these within Nigeria. Rather, they expend the bulk of their research budget in institutions at their home countries, usually in North America, Europe and Asia and periodically send few of their workers who require on-the-job training to those facilities for training and research. Science and Technology education in Nigeria will benefit immensely if these facilities were to be sited in Nigeria. Rather than an exodus of Nigerian students, foreign students may find Nigeria’s institutions attractive for their studies. The economic growth of any nation including Nigeria is tied to the quality of her workforce.

“The creation of sustainable student jobs on campus should be a major concern for advocacy by student unions, parent associations, academic staff unions and other educational stakeholders. This is because it will not only help reduce students’ poverty; it is also a great way to foster students’ personal and professional development. Students who are able to work and earn on campus while studying will also develop time management capacities, budgetary skills in addition to the job-specific skills. In fact, on graduation, such students would have built enviable Curriculum Vitae that prospective employers will cherish. This is also a great way to create entrepreneurs out of fresh school graduates rather than 100% job seekers. Institutions of higher learning are one of the great places to build and nurture entrepreneurship…”

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Image via chargrilled

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