By Inyali Peter
The Cross River State Government’s should consider privatizing the Cross River State University of Technology (CRUTECH) due to its inability to fund it said Etinyin Etim Edet, the chairman of the council of traditional rulers in the state during the institution’s annual stakeholders forum held Tuesday at the Calabar main campus of the varsity.
The monarch lamented that the varsity been the only one owned and operated by the state government was struggling to foot its bills, opining that if the government which created the university can no longer provide adequate funds to sustain it, the option of privatization should be considered or come out with clear cut and realistic plans on sustainable funding.
According to him, “After listening to all of you, I’m very sad. This is not something we should laugh or joke about. There are things I have to say but I’ll tell the governor myself because how can you create a university and abandon it? It very sad that government has abandoned our only state owned university.
“If government can no longer fund the university, can’t we sell it to a private individual who is ready to run this great university? Can’t we reduce the campuses and stop playing politics? What is the need of running multi-campus when you can’t even fund one? So like I said I’m very sad”.
Responding, the governor, Senator Ben Ayade assured stakeholders that the government was committed to resolving the challenges confronting the university.
Represented by his Education Commissioner Godwin Ettah, Ayade said that; “Although the solutions may not be immediate or hundred percent, I can assure you that the government is not relenting but working hard to address the issues you all raised which is not new to us” and added that; “People should learn to appreciate government little efforts because the state and the country is going through difficulties. The government sees education as her top priorities and doing everything within her reach to support CRUTECH”.
The Varsity’s alumni association however differed on this with the national president Eyam Abeng, represented by the national secretary, Tony Sylva calling on the state government to set up an Education Endowment Fund to enable the institution and other tertiary institutions owned by the state to achieve the aims and goals of its founding fathers.
“I want to appeal to the state government to set up an Educational Endowment fund (EEF) which will be used to support CRUTECH and other state own tertiary institutions in the state. All firms operating in Cross River State should be mandated by law to contribute at least one percent (1%) of their profit before tax as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)” Abeng said.
Earlier, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Owan Enoh stated that while it is cogent for government to play her parts, students and parents must support the efforts of government to actualize the dream of the founding fathers of the institution and sought approval of the stakeholders to introduce more stringent measures to ensure students comply with prompt fee payment.
“Before we blame government, we as stakeholders must devise measures to make our students pay school fee. A university that cannot even collect school fees has no moral justification to ask government for anything so we want stakeholders to empower management to introduce strategies that will make students comply with fee payment.
“The dream of CRUTECH is bigger than any individual. There is no free lunch anywhere in the world. While we’re quick to blame government, parents and students must pay fee because only students who pay fee will be considered our students and will have access to all our facilities including lectures, exams”.
On the number of students complying, Professor Owan pointed out that only fifty per cent of the current population have paid their fees and in the fifty, only thirty five per cent have paid complete fees.
At the end of the meeting, a communiqué was issued granting the management the permission to publish a week to exams, a list of students who have paid school fees as the only qualified people to write exams and those who don’t pay before the exams, their scripts be separated and burnt. The stakeholders also approved the introduction of conference marking to address the issue of exams malpractices and compromise by some lecturers.
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