The Pro-Chancellor, Crawford University, Igbesa, Professor Oye Ibidapo-Obe, yesterday said Nigerians were spending a whooping N1 trillion annually to pursue university education abroad.
Ibidapo-Obe, a former Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos (UNILAG), made the revelation in his address at the 10th Convocation of the faith-based Crawford University, Igbesa, Ogun state.
His revelation came at a time university teachers, under the aegis of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) are on strike over issues of welfare and the state of Nigerian universities.
Crawford is a private Christian university established in 2005 by the Apostolic Faith Mission.
Ibidapo-Obe said it was pertinent for the country to look into how education policymakers would encourage private universities to bring out their best.
“The advent of private universities in our nation some 20 years ago opens to us great possibility of providing greater and even more qualitative access to higher education.
“With the recent, very encouraging development from these new entrants, we can see that we are entering into a new era of quite exciting competition between the private higher education providers and the public institutions.
“With this scenario, the most discerning of the education policymakers should reason that private varsities need to be encouraged to bring out their best in this regards.
“In addition, this move by government will make these private universities more efficient and attractive to Nigerians that are annually sending their wards to foreign universities at the cost of N1 trillion every year,” he said.
Ibidapo-Obe, suggested that government could establish an Education Bank to provide a single digit interest for the private and public universities to draw funds.
“Many of us have suggested the establishment of an Education Bank that will help to provide credit at a single digit interest and support through the federal government’s special grants to encourage excellence.
“While setting up the infrastructure for this may take a little time, government can utilise the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND). Many have argued that using some competitive criteria that will test their degree of compliance to certain standards, winners can be singled out and given supervised grants to carry out particular projects.
“The news of such development will help to bring the particular institution to public view and the entire private providers to the limelight.
“The implementation of this kind of policy will help to bring greater competition and efficiency across the two camps of public and private-funded universities,” the former university administrator further added.