Chairman, Governing Council, Alvan Ikoku University, Owerri, John Fasogbon, has lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for giving the education sector priority in the proposed 2016 budget.
The chairman, in a statement signed and made available to journalists in Osogbo, said President Buhari had shown to the entire world his determination to reverse the usual syndrome of budget non-implementation by giving a significant portion of the recurrent expenditure to education and increasing capital expenditure from N557 billion in the 2015 budget to N1.8 trillion in the 2016 budget.
According to him, “For any administration that knows the importance of socio-economic development, it will appropriately place education on the front burner of financial plans as it is the most strategic and potent tool to drive socio-economic growth in any country.
“The proposed plans in the budget catering for public primary schools by feeding them and the provision of free education for science, technology and education students in tertiary institutions are also laudable initiatives. Education raises competent future professionals that would drive the various sectors of the economy and ultimately this will translate to overall development.
“It is a known fact that facilities in public schools are overstretched due to the increasing student population. The huge allocation to education in the 2016 budget by the Buhari-led
government therefore gives Nigerians hope that old infrastructure will be refurbished and new ones built.” he added.
Fasogbon also lauded the president for his inclusive programmes and for ensuring that the menace of unemployment is reduced by employing 500,000 teachers across the country.
He, however, reminded him about the six specialised universities that were established by the immediate past administration which include Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State; Medical Sciences University, Otukpo, Benue State; and four federal universities of education (Kano, Ondo, Owerri, and Zaria).
The chairman emphasised that this was in line with the current international trend of developing specialised universities for the enhancement of professionalism and for quality human capital development.
According to him, “the federal government should make the affected universities functional.
They should also make them to be in the same category with other existing universities. About 1.5 million students are seeking admission into tertiary institutions in the country, but none of the federal, state or private owned universities can boast of accommodating 70 percent of these prospective students. The only option for them is to enrol in any of these specialised universities of education.’’
He, however, noted that the four former colleges of education that were upgraded to universities of education were self-sufficient with little resources to run their affairs.
“The universities have both human and other resources that can sustain them at any point in time,” Fasogbon concluded.

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