The Chief of Staff to the President, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila has said efforts are underway to ensure the take-off of the Students’ Loan Scheme in January 2024 to give Nigerian students access to fund their educational aspirations.
Gbajabiamila stated this in Lagos on Friday while delivering a lecture titled, “Empowering Nigerian Youths in the Present Day Economy” at the 35th convocation ceremony of Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH).
He stated that to make the process seamless, “applicants will apply online, be verified online, and be credited based on the verifiable documents and credentials they have submitted.”
He said, “Earlier this year, His Excellency President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR signed the Students’ Loan (Access to Higher Education) Act, establishing the Education Loan Fund and creating a new legal framework to provide education financing through interest-free loans to Nigerian students.
“Efforts are underway to ensure that by January 2024, Nigerian students can access these loans to fund their educational aspirations. The application system for the student loan programme is being designed so that there is no interface between the loan administrators and the beneficiaries.
“Applicants will apply online, be verified online, and be credited based on the verifiable documents and credentials they have submitted.
“Nobody will need to know anybody to qualify for these loans, so that access to this financing will be genuinely egalitarian.
“The student loan system answers part of the question of how to fund a quality public tertiary education but doesn’t answer all of it.
“Any serious conversation about the future of tertiary education in Nigeria must include a thorough consideration of the ways and of addressing the funding needs of public tertiary institutions beyond government subvention.”
In this regard, we cannot for much longer avoid the simple truth that tertiary education costs money, and the best institutions worldwide succeed, amongst other things, because they can generate significant sums through fees, investments and other means.
“The simple truth is that for our institutions to compete favourably, we need more resources than are currently available to address the dangerous decline in the quality of scholarship and academic output and the graduates we produce from many of our institutions.”
He stated that in a perfect world, access to education will be a fundamental benefit afforded to every individual from basic through tertiary.
“And our learning centres will be majestic citadels of research and innovation, open to all who seek knowledge, regardless of means.
“But this is not a perfect world. In this real world, education is a commodity and a quality education even more so.
“Therefore, the central public policy challenge is the conflict between the competing objectives of access and quality.
“How do we fund a quality tertiary education without imposing costs that make access to quality education impossible for most people?
“We require a programme of aggressive and sustained investment in education. Not only in the physical infrastructure of classrooms and lecture halls but in technology hardware and software to facilitate information exchange and innovation.
Rector of the College, Dr. Ibraheem Abdul said the institution is focused on youth empowerment through its various programmes, adding that the management established an Industry Advisory Committee to enhance her dynamic role of producing technical manpower for the Economic and Social development of Nigeria.
According to him, when it comes to manpower development, technological advancement and youth empowerment, the college has been at the forefront.
Some of the initiatives targeted at youth empowerment put in place by the school as highlighted by the Rector include the Quadruple Helix Collaboration Scheme for Youth Empowerment;
The establishment of a Centre for Technology Marketing and Product Development; The YCT Industry Alliance Group (YIAG) Program; the Students Work and Study Scheme, among others.