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    Thursday, March 21, 2024

    Every Nigerian Child Will Get Access to Higher Education, says Kalu

    Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu has said that the decision by the parliament to amend the Students Loan and Access to Higher Education Act 2023 is ultimately to give opportunity to every Nigerian child to acquire a university education regardless of economic circumstances of the individual involved.

    Speaking at the Silver Jubilee of Madonna University, Elele, River state, and the centenary celebration of the International Federation of Catholic Universities, the Deputy Speaker said Nigeria cannot ignore the pressing challenges facing young people by having access to quality education

    He said: “In Nigeria, we are acutely aware of the challenges that young people face regarding access to quality education. As a parliament, the National Assembly has recognized the urgency of addressing these challenges and has taken proactive steps to expand access to higher education.

    “Initiatives such as establishing the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (Tetfund) for infrastructure development and scholarship provision have been instrumental in improving educational facilities and supporting deserving students.

    “Moreover, the ongoing efforts to amend the Access to Higher Education Act 2023 which has passed through third reading in the House of Representatives underscores our commitment to ensuring that every Nigerian child, regardless of economic circumstances, has the opportunity to pursue a university education.

    “Once amended, the Access to Higher Education Act will serve as a beacon of hope for countless young Nigerians, opening doors to new possibilities and empowering individuals to contribute meaningfully to our nation’s development.

    “By prioritizing inclusivity and equity in higher education, we can unleash the full potential of our youth and cultivate a generation of leaders equipped to address the multifaceted challenges facing our society.

    “Through strategic initiatives such as the provision of loans for indigent students, the Federal Government is working tirelessly to ensure that every Nigerian child has the opportunity to pursue higher education, regardless of their financial circumstances.

    This commitment to inclusive education is further exemplified by the substantial allocation of funds to the education sector in the 2024 budget, with N1.54 trillion dedicated to the Federal Ministry of Education and its agencies – this amount is higher than the N1.08 trillion the education ministry received in the 2023 budget.

    “President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s dedication to education is evident in this budgetary allocation, which reflects his administration’s dedicated commitment to nurturing the next generation of leaders and innovators.”

    Kalu also stated that in the age of rapid technological advancement, universities must embrace technology in learning and leverage it to address the nation’s complex challenges.

    He asked Nigerians to reduce the emphasis on certificates and focus more on the acquisition of skills and knowledge needed to meet the present-day harsh realities.

    “Universities should not merely be institutions for the dissemination of knowledge but should serve as hubs for innovation and problem-solving. By adapting theories to suit local challenges and prioritizing solutions that have a tangible impact on society, universities can fulfill their role as engines of socio-economic development.

    “Employers should also recognize the value of local knowledge and problem-solving skills, prioritizing them over certificates from prestigious institutions.

    “Education should not be solely about obtaining certificates but should be focused on equipping individuals with the skills and knowledge needed to address real-world challenges and drive positive change.

    “As government representatives, we must actively engage with universities to seek solutions to pressing issues, from policy formulations to technological innovations. By fostering collaboration between academia, government, and industry, we can harness the full potential of our universities as drivers of progress and prosperity.”

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