By Bright Azuh and Sunday Aikulola
The Pro-Chancellor of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Dr. Wale Babalakin (SAN), has canvassed N2 trillion annual funding for the education sector, saying it will help to produce globally competitive graduates.
The lawyer made the demand yesterday while delivering the 20th anniversary lecture of the Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, titled “Technical Education and the Industry: Bridging the Gap for National Development.”
According to Babalakin, the current complain about unemployment in the country would become history if the quality of education improves and meets international standards.
To him, the solution to many of Nigeria’s problems is quality education, which the government alone cannot fund. Babalakin also called for the establishment of an Education Bank that would give loans to indigent students, saying such loans would cover tuition fees and provide for the students’ upkeep, adding that a condusive environment needs to be provided for students to bring out the best in them.
He said the loans should be repaid at no more than 5 percent interest rate and should be payable within 6 years when the student starts working, with no more than 10 percent of his or her salary going to loan repayment. According to him, the sums paid as school fees should also be channeled towards improving tertiary institutions.
The lawyer called for the transfer of technology from expatriates to Nigerians in order to build the capacity of the country’s human capital. “If today, the biggest construction company in Nigeria is Julius Berger, it is an indictment on every Nigerian who has any affiliation with technology.”
He advocated for a proper reward system, noting that except in the case of minimum wage, workers should be rewarded based on their performance as against blanket payment for everyone.The Rector, Yaba College of Technology, Obafemi Omokungbe, said the college had a centre for entrepreneurship that trains students to be self-employed and employers of labour.The lecture was chaired by the former Chairman of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Sir Remi Omotosho.