This Day (Lagos)

14 December 2012

Nigeria: Soyinka Warns Against Establishing Schools for Profit Making

Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, Thursday said educational institution should not be established as a profit making venture. Soyinka, who spoke at Ilara Mokin near Akure, the Ondo State capital, during a facility tour of the Elizade University established by the Chairman of Toyota Nigeria Limited, Chief Michael Ade-Ojo, said it would be anti-human for anybody to establish educational institution as business venture to make money.

The Nobel Laureate, who described the facilities on ground in the university as marvellous, said private initiative in the nation's educational sector would help in revamping the dwindling standard of education.

"The educational system as you know very well in this country had collapsed a long time ago and I think that private initiative in the sector will help in raising, pulling upward, the standard which our generation enjoyed, and lead to the recovery of such standard as we had in the past.

"The crucial element of education which is standard need to be enhanced with an initiative like this which are geniuinely, based on strategic planning because there are some private institution who are out to make money through education."

"They look at it as another business. You cannot treat education like business. It's not logical and its anti human educationist policy. It is like the health sector which should be accessible to all regardless of one's social status in the society," he said.

Commenting on the facilities, Soyinka said "the varsity, very good nature friendly environment, conducive for learning. The students hostel is humane and a very good architecture concept. Good collegiate principles into the students' concept. The laboratories are good and would aid learning. Good initiative in the educational sector."

Buttressing the position of Soyinka, the founder of the university, Ade-Ojo said his aim of establishing the university is to take education to a very higher level and to reverse the race by Nigerians to send their wards to overseas for education.

He said Nigerian students in Ghana universities were paying as much as $10,000 per annum, stressing that the facilities in the university should attract much more that what is being charged as fees for now.

"Very few universities in the country were equipped with infrastructure these days. My intention is to reverse the race to overseas for education. It is surprising to know that we have a lot of Nigerians in Ghana now who pay at least a tuition fee of about $10,000 per session.

"Nigerians are able to pay. What we should be charging for the type of facilities we have in place is about N2 million per session. It was reduced to N1m but when students are not forthcoming it was reduced further to N750,000 per session," Ade-Ojo stated.

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