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Outrage as FG gives Grants worth Millions to Malaysian University despite ASUU Strike

A Malaysian university, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) has earned 11 international research grants worth RM 600, 000 (61.3 Million Naira) from the Nigerian government through the Nigerian Institute for Transport Technology (NITT).

This was revealed by the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ismail Ahmad Fauzi, on the university’s Facebook page on Monday.

In the post, the university posted in Malay translated to English: “Congratulations UTM Centre for Innovative Planning and Development on successfully earning 11 international research grants worth RM 660, 000 FROM Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology, NITT, Zaria.”

In Malaysia’s 2021 budget proposal, education was allocated RM50.4 billion (over NGN4.6 trillion). This is 30% less than what they budgeted for education last year, due to COVID-19.

Nigerian 2021 Education Budget

On the other hand, Despite the challenges faced by Nigeria’s education sector and calls for the government to increase funding to the sector, the current administration is proposing to give the sector its lowest allocation in 10 years, when measured as a percentage of the total spending plan.

President Buhari presented the 2021 budget proposal to the National Assembly over two weeks ago. Out of N13.08 trillion budgeted for next year, N742.5 billion was allotted to education. That is just 5.6 percent, the lowest percentage allocation since 2011.

In the breakdown, N579. 7 billion is for personnel cost, N35.4 billion for overhead cost, while N127. 3 billion is dedicated to capital expenditure.

The headquarters of the federal ministry of education was allotted N65. 3 billion and the Universal Basic Education, which supervises education at the primary and secondary levels got N77.6 billion. The remaining was shared across other institutions under the ministry.

The lingering ASUU strike

Meanwhile, the Strike by the Academic Staff Union Universities (ASUU) has entered its eighth month. Nigerian public universities have been closed since February due to a lack of proper funding by the Government.

ASUU had on March 23 begun an indefinite strike over the Federal Government’s insistence on implementing the IPPIS, which the government said all its employees must adopt for their salaries to be paid.

Besides opposing the IPPIS, the union also accused the Federal Government of not abiding by agreements both sides signed a few years ago, most of which bothers on the funding of Nigerian Universities.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, on Wednesday night, while briefing journalists after a closed-door meeting with ASUU members in Abuja said that the Federal Government cannot meet their financial demand for the revitalization of tertiary institutions.

He said the economic situation occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic would not allow the government to do beyond its financial capacity despite its commitment to the revitalization of universities.

“This government is not against revitalization, but this government says that because of dare economic situation, because of COVID-19, we cannot really pay in the N110bn they’re demanding for revitalization.” He said

Many Nigerians are perplexed as to why the same government that lacked the resources to meet the demands of its striking University lecturers is given grants to foreign universities.

According to Fahad Suleiman, “The government is giving out grants to foreign universities and here we are, because of 110million we have been kept at home for more than 7consecutive months. Other countries will look at how Nigerian Gov’t negligently treat the Educational sector and perhaps laugh at us.

“May Almighty, Lord of the magnificent throne bring an end to the situation at high speed and also make it easy for us to bear because isn’t easy at All sir, I feel like one University dropped out now!!” He Concludes

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My vision is driven by the conviction that Governments primarily have responsibilities to perform and must be held to account on improved conditions that meet basic standards of living; employment generation and livelihoods sustainability; whilst balancing socio-cultural peculiarities of the various constituencies in the new world order.

Abiodun BORISADE is the last child of the 4 children of Late Justice Michael Ayorinde BORISADE and wife, Chief Mrs Oyeyemi BORISADE.
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