The University of Lagos has called for a review of the funding pattern in the nation’s universities.
Its Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Rahamon Bello, canvassed the change on Monday in Lagos at a memorial lecture to honour of a former VC of the institution, Prof. Adetokunbo Sofoluwe.
Sofoluwe, the 10th VC of the university, died on May 12, 2012 of cardiac arrest.
He served as the UNILAG VC from January 10, 2010 until his death. He was aged 62.
Delivering a lecture entitled, “Funding of university education in Nigeria: trends, challenges and new directions”, Bello urged the Federal Government to replace the blanket funding of universities with the per cost to training a student.
He said, “The fund currently released by the Federal Government to universities is not too far less than what will be released paying tuition fees for each student.
“There is need to consider changing the university funding pattern from bulk release to tying it to studentship to improve efficiency in the use of the fund.
“Universities will enjoy relative autonomy and become more focused if they receive funds per student in their institutions and the funds would be more efficiently utilised for the core businesses of the institutions”.
The VC, who noted that the funds made available by the Federal Government were below the UNESCO recommendation, said the University of Lagos had increased funding from N5.4bn in 2009 to N9.9bn in 2013.
If the proposed arrangement holds, Bello said, the university would receive N13bn from the Federal Government for a student population of 27,876.
He added that the arrangement would lead to academic stability, better autonomy, and would ensure that the universities focused on “the core businesses of teaching and research”.
Bello, who noted that 95 per cent of the funds accruable to the universities went to personnel cost, also frowned on what he called “the skewed remuneration between academic and non-academic staff.”
“As is seen, the bulk of the personnel cost services the non-teaching component of our staffing, depicting the skewed pattern of expenditure on staffing.
“The situation in most of the other universities is far worse than what obtains at the University of Lagos. While first rate universities all over the world spend well over 75 per cent of their personnel cost on core academic personnel, the reverse is the case in our situation,” he said.
To honour Sofoluwe, the university’s alumni association led by its Lagos State Chairman, Dr. Ayodele Ogunleye, announced that the inauguration of the Sofoluwe Foundation would take place in May 2015.
He added that the Sofoluwe Distinguished International Award of Excellence on distinguished scholars would attract an initial $10,000 prize.