The President, Nigerian Academy of Letters and former Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission, NUC, Professor Munzali Jibril, has called for funding of reforms in Nigerian higher education system to diversify its recourse base and deliver the quality output that is needed to make Nigeria a respected player in the knowledge economy of the 21st Century.
Speaking at a convocation lecture of the University of Lagos, Jibril urged stakeholders to deregulate the system and untie the hands of the universities and other tertiary institutions to allow them charge realistic fees for both tuition and staff and student accommodation.
"Government should improve the public funding of higher institutions for them to meet the minimum staffing and facilities levels recommended in the minimum academic benchmarks.
"Government should commit itself to provide full financing for every approved programme and for approved enrolment levels at the rate per student recommended for full accreditation to be achieved."
Jibril said the funding reforms would be implemented in three phases. Phase one will involve the full deregulation of staff and student accommodation charges and the re-introduction of minimal tuition fees so that the government's contribution is reduced to 75 per cent. This should take place during 2013-14.
The second phase, which should run from 2014-17 should involve the raising of fees levels beyond the token levels introduced in phase one. This would reduce government's contribution to 60 per cent while internal revenue should rise to 40 per cent.