Lagos – A university don, Prof. Olukayode Amund, on Saturday said that poverty was responsible for the high rate of dropouts among students of tertiary institutions in the country.
Amund, who is the Dean of Student Affairs, University of Lagos, recently renamed Moshood Abiola University, said that poverty was the greatest challenge facing the students.
“The greatest challenge amongst students in Nigeria, which is very pervasive and which people seem not to be aware of, is that of poverty.
“Our students all over the country could do better if given the right environment and right conditions as many of the students that you see today cannot afford to eat three-square meals.
“In an institution such as the University of Lagos, the survival of some of these students on campus is usually subsidised because they can barely pay their hostel fees while on campus,” he said.
He explained that university had been consistent in supporting such indigent students by deploying part of its internally generated funds for that purpose.
“What we do here in University of Lagos is to use our internally generated funds to assist in subsidising the existence of such students by giving them grants that would enable them stay on,” he said.
He noted that once this trend was tackled, Nigerian students would be equal if not better than their counterparts in other parts of the world.
The don however said the issue of poverty was not peculiar to the university system but that it cuts across every strata of the society.
He called for an even distribution of the nation’s resources in order to cushion the effects of the harsh economic situation in the country.
“There is an urgent need for government to step up efforts in tackling poverty in the country.
“Once this is taken care of in the entire polity, it is going to reflect on the lives of the average Nigerian,” Amund said.
The don noted that the private sector, irrespective of their challenges, also had a role to play in impacting positively on the lives of the citizenry.
“We are very aware of the challenges they are currently having in the face of the harsh economic situation in the country.
“If you take a look around, you will discover that a lot of the companies are folding up and some relocating to other countries with better operational conditions,” he said.
He added that there was need to re-organise the country’s politics to make it people driven.
“We must strive to run cheaper government in this country in order for us to have more funds to transform other sectors such as education, health and agriculture which are critical to the country’s economy,” Amund said.