By Ibukun Emiola
Some education stakeholders in Ibadan have lauded the Students’ Loan Act recently assented to by President Bola Tinubu.
The stakeholders, who gave the commendation in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan on Monday, however, tasked the Federal Government on the implementation of the policy for it to achieve its objectives.
Deputy Director, Secondary Education, Oyo State Ministry of Education, Mr Julius Oladapo, said it was a good policy that would help indigent students access finance for their education.
“It is a right step in the right direction for us as a nation and from there, we can only go forward,” Oladapo said.
Also, an Education Enthusiast, Mr Tunji Adepeju, said that the policy, coupled with the establishment of Students’ Education Bank, was long overdue, saying it would go a long way in addressing financial challenges in the education sector.
According to him, the tuition and accommodation fees currently being paid by students in public tertiary institutions are no longer sustainable, given the present circumstance.
Adepeju said from the study he carried out for a particular college, the cost of training one student was above N3 million, taking into consideration the workers’ salaries and other related expenses.
He said that the policy would curb incessant industrial actions by tertiary institution workers due to poor financing.
“If the government is starting an education bank, then we must have a good database for all the applicants.
“We must also ensure that credible guarantors are presented and verified through NIN and BVN so that the management of the funds would be easier than what obtained in the past,” he said.
Another stakeholder, Mr Yemi Osanyin, said that Nigeria was known for formulating good policies and passing legislations, particularly in the education sector.
Osanyin, however, expressed the regret that poor implementation of the policies and programmes had the bane of the sector.
He urged those that would be saddled with the implementation of the policy to guard against the usual Nigerian factor capable of working against it.
Osanyin stressed the need for adequate financing of the loan.
“Will there be sufficient provision for the fund in the national annual budget in view of dwindling national revenue?
“Will the agency saddled with the implementation not be enmeshed in unnecessary bureaucracy, such that approval and release will be able to meet the deadlines for payments in schools?
“We have to also consider the composition of the agency so that it is not filled with people who do not have business being there,” he said.
Osanyin also said that the loan should be made to get to the real beneficiaries rather than being cornered by few influential and privileged individuals.