The students’ body insisted that this erroneous perception had brought unbridled commercialisation tendencies in public schools and now depriving many Nigerians access to tertiary education.
The NANS National President, Comrade Sunday Asefon, said this on Thursday at the Lagos State University (LASU), while speaking on the decadence in the Nigerian educational system.
Asefon in a statement entitled: ‘Need to Perceive Education As a Social Service,’ and made available to newsmen in Ado Ekiti, on Friday, said any developing nation that views education from the prism of commercialisation would fail in giving the youths the right attitude to life.
The NANS’ leader described education as a veritable weapon to rid the society of ignorance, criminality, and building of future leaders, saying Nigeria was getting it wrong because of the perception that education should be a commercial venture.
He said: “I have always believed that education has been commercialized in Nigeria. Income and profit have become the first consideration rather than output and social services to the people.
“The fundamentals of education must be recalibrated to building informed minds that could build the nation.
“There is, therefore, an urgent need to totally overhaul the education sector, synchronize its output with our societal needs, invest in institutions as a social service rather than an income-generating venture, and also through innovations build self-sustaining educational institutions.
“The need to invest in a knowledge based economy to drive our nations economy cannot be over-emphasized and institutions must be adequately empowered to be productive. We must build the Nigeria MIT, Harvard, etc who through innovations, research and technology are positively influencing the nation’s economy.
“A nation cannot develop beyond the quality of its educational institutions, and we must deliberately do more to see a better and productive educational sector”.
Asefon added that it was wrong for Nigeria to be equating itself with developed countries like America, Britain, France and China in terms of educational policies, saying the level of poverty in those nations were low compared to what was obtainable in Nigeria.
“We learnt that the inflation rate had risen to 17 percent in recent time. Another research by the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics(NBS) revealed that 23 million Nigerian youths between ages 23 and 49 are jobless.
“If that was true, how can Nigeria commercialize education and expect the larger chunk of its youthful population to acquire education, because the pillar of poverty was already there solidly erected to deprive them of that opportunity.
“Taking cognisance of all these, we appeal to the federal government to reduce tuition fees in all the public schools across the country. Let them make it affordable for all citizens regardless of the economic status.
“The current trend where the tuition fees payable in public tertiary institutions and private are almost at par is demoralising and killing”.