Vice-Chancellor of McPherson University, Seriki Sotayo, in Ogun State, Prof Adeniyi Agunbiade has appealed to the Federal Government to include private universities in the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) intervention grant.
Agunbiade made the appeal at a briefing on the forthcoming convocation ceremony of the institution.
He explained that the university would graduate 92 students out of which 15, bagged First Class, 38 obtained Second Class upper division,31, got Second Class ower division and eight, Third Class.
The VC said government need to emulate the National Universitities Commission (NUC), who carry out accreditation exercise without discrimination of any tertiary institution be it private or public.
“If both private and public institution were given the same criteria during accreditation,why can’t government amend TETfund law to accomodate private institutions for educational growth.
Prof Agunbiade added that bulk of the money used for TETfund intervention comes from the private sector why can’t private institutions benefits from it, when they invest to ensure that the standard of education meet their counterparts in the global scheme.
He stressed that it was regrettable that private universities were excluded from the intervention grant.
“The private institutions founders equally want their schools to benefit from the intervention fund, mainly for research. He argued that their products benefit the society as well, but it is an idea that the public institutions loathe.
Agunbiade said that denying private universities TETfund grant to finance their academic programmes, including research and infrastructure development, amounted to great injustice.
Emphatically, he said government has been rejecting the proposal to amend the law.The law has to be amended despite the fact that they don’t do unionist but the sector has been making effort to improve the standard of learning without thinking of profit.
“It takes 25 years for any private institution to even think of profit, I must state it is capital intensive, because the primary aim is to impact and they have continually invested and improved the education with the resources they have,especially on facilities, private institution have been spending more than they received,” he noted.
The VCA stressed that the main aim of every academic institution was to contribute to nation building through impartation of knowledge and character moulding rather than profit making.
He said that the university, which is owned by the Foursquare Gospel Church, Nigeria, was built to provide quality education in line with international standard.
Prof Agunbiade disclosed that private universities offered the same academic services like their government-owned counterparts, hence should enjoy similar financial assistance from the federal government.
He hinged the high fees charged by private universities on the enormous financial burden they bear in the attempt to maintain the best minimum standard required by the regulatory agencies.
His words: “The establishment of universities all over the world is usually not for profits.
“Most of the foremost universities in the world started as faith-based, some were established by individuals and families with trust.
“So, one cannot break even in a life time for establishing a university, no matter the fee the person or organisation charges.
“Imagine a university established with N10 billion, what fee will students pay within the life time of the proprietor to make him recover the capital.
“Students in private universities should be made to enjoy the education tax paid by oil companies operating in Nigeria, which is collected as TETFund.
“These private universities will still have to pay very high salary bills and meet up with the requirements of the NUC and maintain their learning facilities for best academic performance.
“Because education is a highly regulated industry, we have to meet the demand and benchmark required of us.”
He said that the institution has been providing healthcare services to their host community through the health center and today over 8,000 benefits from the medical services.
In addition,the church has provided a teaching hospital at their Idimu camp ground that would upgrade the institution medical relevance.
“The institution has zero tolerance for cultism and other social ills that are prevalent in most of our premier universities.