Why students loan may not work in Nigeria – ASUU, ASUP speaks 

The Student Loan Bill was enacted into law on Monday in Abuja by President Bola Tinubu.

According to Dele Alake, a member of the Presidential Strategic Team, the signing of the measure was “fulfillment of one of his campaign promises to liberalise funding of education.”

Since taking office two weeks ago, Tinubu has signed two pieces of legislation, the latest being the Students Loan Act.

The bill will make it possible for students who are in need to acquire interest-free loans.

According to The PUNCH, on May 25, 2023, the third reading of the bill sponsored by Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the 9th House of Representatives, was approved.

Alake stated that the new rule requires potential beneficiaries to provide documentation of their origins. Alake was joined by other members of the media team, including Tunde Rahman, Abdulaziz Abdulaziz, and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, David Adejoh.

“We’re delighted to inform you that President Bola Tinubu, His Excellency, signed the Student Loans Bill into law today.

“This is a pledge made by the then-candidate for president, His Excellency Bola Tinubu, that he would bring the student debt issue back to the forefront.

And today, he has fulfilled his pledge. He just signed the legislation into law, making it possible for our needy kids to now receive federal loans to pay for their education or careers, according to Alake.

The presidential adviser claimed that the action would make it easier for people to attend education and was consistent with global standard practice in developed regions.

“In other developed regions, it is done in this manner. So this is good news for students and young people everywhere.

Naturally, there are requirements for qualification. And that serves as the beneficiary’s proof of indigenous status.

Of course, committees need to be formed. To oversee the effective and professional use of this facility, committee members will be selected from a variety of entities, he continued.

Additionally, it was said that even though the bill is instantly effective, the committees overseeing the process will hammer out the application procedures.

Adejoh, the permanent secretary of the ministry of education, implied that the federal government’s current scholarship board will transform into a loan board that might provide educational credit options to qualifying candidates.

“Today’s actions by the President go beyond mere symbolic. It is an indication of his intentions for how he intends to approach education as his presidency develops. The most crucial event occurs after the bill has been signed. A bill outlines what needs to be done. What we will put together is the how.

Now, he said, “nobody will claim that money prevented him from attending school.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities responded by describing the loan law as favoring the children of the wealthy above those of the poor.

Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, national president of ASUU, stated in an interview with The PUNCH that “everyone knows our stand on student loans because you would end up burdening the children of the poor with loans and debt after graduating. The union will reply shortly. This is prejudiced. If what I read online is accurate, only children whose parents make at least N500,000 annually are eligible. That implies that you won’t gain if your father makes more money.

Similar to how Mr. Anderson Ezeibe stated, “I have not researched the bill and we do not want to react on the surface, I am the national president of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics. However, I’ve noticed one region that won’t be workable.

“It states that two years after completing NYSC, students must reimburse the money. But what options are there for someone who doesn’t have a job after completing NYSC? And will everyone quickly get employment after NYSC?

The student loan bill, according to the National Association of Nigerian Students, is a “way forward” for the nation’s educational system.

The Cordinator, NAN, Zone D, Adejuwon Emmanuel, however, criticized the repayment terms in a statement made available to The PUNCH on Monday.

Without saying much more, the student loan law is a step in the right direction for Nigeria’s educational system because it will allow students whose parents cannot afford to pay their tuition fees to do so with a loan.

But despite how great this is, the government still has to provide some clarification. The deadline for payment is unrealistic. How will they pay back when there is no work anywhere and the majority of grads don’t find employment right away? How will it function when the majority of our grads are unemployed? Is there a strategy or opportunity for people who are unemployed two years after completing their NYSC?

In a conversation with our correspondent, Prof. Ini Uko, a former deputy vice chancellor at the University of Uyo, praised the initiative.

“Well, this means that tuition costs will increase,” Uko added. There will be no longer be a tertiary education subsidy. Vice chancellors will now have the authority to enact tuition charges. This is a commendable effort. I received a student loan, and those who benefit from it must, of course, pay it back.

“We need to stop pretending that the government can continue to fund tertiary education on its own, the truth is. It cannot be done.

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