Church Universities and Secular universities

Everyone who is concerned about the state of education in Nigeria had at one time or the other lend their voices to berate the unfavorable government policies that are affecting the sector more negatively than positively. Everyone is lamenting its under-funding by the government despite the 25% annual budgetary allocation stipulated by the United Nations to be injected into it but our government only manages to inject a miser 5%. We are also bemoaning the failure of the government to implement the various recommendations given by many stakeholders’ forum except the dust it gathers in their archives.

The crass indifference and flippancy directed towards education has been inimical to the production of quality, qualified and seasoned graduates of international standard and the integral and predominant impact it makes on the economy of the country. To gain an admission is now more difficult than procuring an American visa. The merited candidates who through the dint of hard work achieved excellence only get sidetracked on the day of reckoning while those whose parents enjoy some network of connection in the profit-oriented universities ride on an already-paved road into the institutions through the backyard. My deduction now is that an admission into an average Nigerian university is no longer by merit and credit but by whom you know. And if you don’t know anybody, one risks the forfeiture of the possibility of an admission. The trend had made someone like me to become despondent about going to school in Nigeria and other folks who traverse the length and breadth of the nation in search of an alternative to make up for the vacuum of not having a full education. I wonder the so-called technocrats who advise the former President  and the ones who enlighten the former education Minister to build more universities instead of putting the necessary structure in place to adequately fund the existing ones. I wouldn’t want a repeat of what happened during former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime when he appointed a lecturer who ought to be in the classroom holding chalks as the Aviation Minister and we all were witnesses to the disaster that rocked that sector.

Now, since we can’t find respite in the secular setting, should we also be scared away by the church universities? This is paradoxical. The churches charge huge and exorbitant prices to the disaffection and chagrin of everyone. Since the secular universities rejected me and I run to the church, I think I should find some academic solace but it’s not so. The poser is, “Are they in for profiteering which is human racketeering or to provide an alternative for the teeming non-admitted candidates?” They are mission schools. I think they should not even charge up to N20,000 per semester instead of the colossal N750,000, N1,000,000 etc that they are charging. The poor people in the church cannot send their wards to such schools despite giving their tithe and offering and other wilful donations and contributions that they painstakingly make. One of such schools’ lecturers said they have a stipulated discount given to any member whose children attend the schools. What a statement! Are we talking about discount or providing a platform for the indigent who constitute the highest percentage of the churches’ population so that they can send their children to the universities also with a feeling devoid of malice or grudges against the church authority.

The ostensible reason for such hike in price, justifiably or otherwise, I don’t know, may be for the furtherance of the gospel to the very far corner of the earth as commanded our Lord Jesus Christ but He never said it should be done at the expense of the poor. He didn’t say we should be indifferent to whose ox is gored. I don’t want to extend my hard feelings to the church and I don’t want to see a scenario where there would be a disconnect between the rich and the poor in the church – an ill-will. This causes dissension a lot in the church.

The most appalling thing is that the pastors also have the temerity to berate the absurdities and obscenity inherent in the education system when they have their own inadequacies trailing them. I revere every man of God and I will never disrespect them if they also do the right thing which is why the main thrust of this piece is to let them rectify the anomalies implicit in the administration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. If the church had subsidized the ‘price’ well enough that the couple who earn the most miserable income whether on daily, weekly, or monthly basis can afford to send their children to the universities, the millions who fall victims by being exploited by JAMB year in year out would have been admitted by now. Somebody may ask, “where will they generate the funds to provide the necessary facilities needed for a conducive environment for learning?” My answer is, “there are one hundred and one million ways to do that, that they will devise and improvise among themselves. Or where did some of them get the money to buy private jets? To every problem, there are seven solutions. That include the internally-generated revenue in the school but not the one that will take a heavy toll on the students. And coupled with donations from the wealthy and opulent members of the church. And a collaboration with private bodies too will work etc.        TO BE CONTINUED

Author: Olajide Oluwafemi