Government and other stakeholders must think fresh ways of funding public universities
The gates of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology were opened to students recently after some eight months of closure. The university was shut down last June due to the failure of the joint owners–Oyo and Osun States–to fulfil their shared funding responsibility. The states were reportedly struggling to pay a debt load to the tune of N7 billion which made it poignantly impossible for the university to perform its primary functions, including the payment of workers’ salaries.
Despite the fact that the students have been recalled, there are still contentious issues to be resolved. “The truth is that there have been no efforts to ensure we resume,” said Biodun Olaniran, chairman of the local branch of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). “Students who have resumed are only here to play. One of the demands of ASUU is a letter of commitment from the owner states stating how the university would be funded and how salaries would be paid,” a demand the owner states considered impudent.