Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Vice Chancellor, University of Mkar, in Benue State, Prof. Iorwuese Gerna, has appealed to the Federal Government to consider the inclusion of private universities into the Tertiary Fund scheme as a means of improving their standards.
Prof. Gerna made this appeal, over the weekend, during a press briefing to mark his 2nd anniversary in office as the third Vice Chancellor of the institution.
The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) is a scheme established by the Federal Government of Nigeria in 2011 to disburse, manage and monitor education tax to government owned tertiary institutions in the country.
It was formed as a product of the Education Tax Act of 1993, which according to the ice chancellor, the exclusion of all private Universities into the scheme, has left them in a challenging state.
The vice chancellor stated that prior to the establishment of the scheme in 2011, government-owned tertiary institutions were poorly funded, pointing out that the scheme was designed to improve on the managements of funds disbursed to these institutions.
Gerna noted that not all private universities can generate revenue as others do, adding that Mkar University was a mission institution, thus facing a different scenario.
His words, “Vice chancellors of private universities have been pressing for this for a while. We are not even asking for the same share but at least something to assist us.
“We are hopeful that the National Assembly and the Federal Government will adhere to our plights”, he said, adding that the school had reduced its fees to a minimal standard even without support funds.
“The school fees is as little as N300,000 with 5 percent discount given to every church member who enrolls. School fees are allowed to be paid in four installments, in a year which is for the two sessions. We have over hundred vulnerable students on scholarships”.
He said the National University Commission (NUC) had accredited three new programmes namely, B.Sc entrepreneurship, International Relations and Masters in Business Administration.
He said the aim for such courses were with a specific mandate to enhance the revenue drive of the school, through creative and legitimate means apart from fees and church contributions.
The Food Science and Technology expert said the institution was poised to offer world class training to enrolled students, acknowledging that all courses offered in the institution, sciences, and non sciences were fully accredited by the NUC.
The VC added that approvals were also gotten for the take off of College of Education with five science courses running.
“We operate collegiate system offering
preliminary studies, undergraduate and post graduate degrees”, he said.
He said prompt payment of salaries, mobility challenges and retraining of staff were tackled to enhance their productivity.
He explained that students were closely monitored and trained using knowledge rooted in God’s word to ensure social vices such as drug abuse, thuggery and cultism were curbed.
Mkar University, a Christian university, was founded in 2005 by the Universal Reformed Christian Church as the sole proprietor of the school.