The House of Representatives gets set to pass the Students Loan Bill so as to enable every student to complete their education without financial hindrances.
The essence of establishing an education bank, according to the Lawmakers, was to enable indigent students have access to loans without interest. The loan bill is to stipulate that the loans would only be paid back after the student had graduated and started work.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, expressed commitment to the cause of education and solicitude with the plight of youths in the country. He disclosed this during an interactive session with student leaders of Nigerian universities, organized by the National Institute of Legislative Studies, NILS, in Abuja. According to him, the Student loan bill would only be the starting point in the government’s plans to improve the Nigerian education sector.
The Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara while addressing the session, said:
“This country belongs to you but it’s under the stranglehold of men and women of a generation that have overreached itself. The truth is that nothing will be ceded or conceded to your generation without a fight. In this endeavour, your voices mean nothing if you don’t have the votes. Therefore, all students in Nigeria must not only register to vote and cast their votes during elections, they must also ensure that their votes count.”
He went further to state that he held the strong view that the culture of peaceful protest, demonstrations and general activism was not only necessary in a democratic state but also, in fact, a constitutional right.
“This ensures accountability of government to the people. Resistance to tyranny, crusade for justice and good governance require courage, patriotism and ideological purity. The culture of protest that I endorse must be uncompromisingly peaceful and non-violent. It must be based on selflessness and not aided by ambition or corruption. It must be for the right reasons and procured only by the purest of motives.”
He spoke further on the problem of education in Nigeria:
“In Nigeria, it is estimated that young people between the ages of 15 and 25 make up 47 percent of the nation’s population. These numbers are predicted to increase further in the coming years. Despite their numbers, relevance and potentials, young people in Nigeria face significant challenges in many facets. First of all, the educational system in Nigeria is dysfunctional. This is reflected in the sad fact that only one Nigerian university is ranked among the top 800 universities of the world in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for 2015/2016. Little wonder, parents have turned to sending their children to universities in other African countries, including Ghana, South Africa, Benin Republic, Uganda and Kenya, among others.”