The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) Bauchi Zone has strongly criticized the government’s lack of adequate funding for federal universities, citing its detrimental impact on student enrollment and academic performance.
Comrade Lazarus Maigoro, the ASUU Bauchi Zonal Coordinator, expressed grave concern over the adverse effects of student loans on students’ well-being and academic success during the recent Indigent Scholarship Award ceremony at Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU) in Bauchi,
The union firmly opposes the idea of student loans, advocating instead for government grants to support students from financially disadvantaged backgrounds.
He emphasized the need for government grants to alleviate the financial burden on students and prevent them from dropping out due to financial constraints.
Maigoro highlighted ASUU’s unwavering commitment to supporting financially challenged students, recalling instances where students faced difficulties paying fees and charges, leading to dropouts.
The union’s scholarship initiative aims to address these financial challenges and ensure that students’ educational aspirations are not hindered by financial constraints.
“We question who will pay the loan and the fate of those who cannot access it,” Maigoro stated. “The psychological trauma students will endure due to the loan while still studying will negatively impact their performance. The thought of graduating with a loan of N4 million or more without the means to repay it is another form of psychological torture.”
Maigoro further emphasized that those who cannot access the loan due to stringent conditions are virtually destined to drop out of school. “Currently, due to the hike in school fees or charges in public universities across the country, many students have been unable to resume their studies,” he explained.
ASUU Bauchi Zone is currently compiling data on students at risk of dropping out at the end of the current semester in the hope of persuading the government to reconsider its stance on student loans and replace them with grants.
“We can authoritatively state that we observe a significant number of distressed students in our classrooms due to the harsh economic realities of our country,” Maigoro asserted. “One of the reasons ASUU went on strike for eight months in 2022 was to compel the government to fulfill its responsibility of funding university education.
Unfortunately, parents and students did not support the union’s efforts to collectively address this issue, and now they are bearing the brunt of what ASUU tried to prevent.”
Despite the challenges, ASUU Bauchi Zone remains committed to its advocacy for quality tertiary education and has pledged to continue its annual scholarship program.
This year, the zone is awarding scholarships to 19 indigent students in addition to the 12 scholarships already awarded by ASUU National to students in the six universities that constitute Bauchi Zone.
Comrade Ibrahim Inuwa, the ATBU Branch Chairperson, reiterated ASUU’s unwavering dedication to advocating for quality tertiary education and pledged the continuation of the annual scholarship program.
The recipients of these scholarships expressed their profound gratitude to ASUU for its invaluable support, acknowledging that without this assistance, their educational pursuits might have been jeopardized.
Maigoro concluded by emphasizing that the annual scholarship award will continue to recognize and support brilliant but indigent students.