By: VITALIS UGOH, Calabar.
Worried by the inability of the Cross River State Government to adequately fund its owned Cross River State University of Technology (CRUTECH), the Council of Traditional Rulers has called on the government to privatise the institution so as to sustain its viability and sustainability.
The advice was made by the Chairman of the Council and paramount ruler of Bakassi Local Government Area, His Royal Majesty Etinyin (Dr) Etim Okon Edet, during the annual stakeholders’ forum of the institution in Calabar.
He said “if the government which created the university can no longer provide adequate funds to sustain it, the option of privatization should be considered as the current situation where the institution is barely struggling to foot her bills is pathetic and unacceptable”.
The monarch noted that as the only state owned university, the government should come out with clear cut and realistic plans on sustainable funding adding that “the present situation where the institution operate multi-campus system cutting across the three senatorial districts should be reviewed to enable it function efficiently as a higher institution of learning”.
According to him, “after listening to all of you, I am 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 is very sad that government has abandoned our only state owned university”.
He went on to state that “if government can no longer fund the university, can’t we sell it to private individuals who are ready to run this great university? Can’t we reduce the campuses and stop playing politics? What is the need of running multiple-campuses when you can’t even fund one? So like I said I’m very sad”.
Reacting on behalf of the state governor, a Commissioner Hon. Godwin Ettah, assured stakeholders that government was committed to resolving the challenges confronting the university.
He said “although the solutions may not be immediate or hundred per cent, 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.
Ayade said “people should learn to appreciate governments’ 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”.
In his remarks, the Vice Chancellor of the university, Professor Anthony Owan Enoh, stated that while it is cogent for government to play her part, students and parents must support the efforts of government to actualize the dream of the founding fathers of the institution.
Enoh regretted that students of the university don’t pay school fees, noting that only fifty per cent of the current population have paid their fees and out of this figure, only 35 per cent have paid complete fees.
He therefore sought for the approval of stakeholders to introduce more stringent measures to ensure students complied with prompt fee payment adding that “the management allows payment in installment of 50 per cent each semester but most students have failed to comply.
“Before we blame government, he added “we as stakeholders must devise measures to make our students pay school fees. 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, he added “.
He declared “the dream of CRUTECH is bigger than any individual. There’s no free lunch anywhere in the world. While we’re quick to blame government, parents and students must pay fee because only students who pays fee will be considered our students and will have access to all our facilities including lectures, and exams”.
In a related development, the Alumni association of the institution has urged the state government to set up an Education Endowment Fund (EEF) where one per cent of profits before tax of all the firms operating in the state will be devoted to the development of the institution.
National President of the association, Mr. Eyam Abeng, made this remark while speaking as a Guest during the institution’s annual stakeholders forum.
Abeng who was represented by the National Secretary of the association Mr. Tony Sylvers, noted that with the current economic situation in the state and country, it is necessary for government to be creative and think outside the box on how to generate funds for the running of day to day administration of the university.
By: VITALIS UGOH, Calabar.