Amidst growing paucity of funds available to universities, particularly for capital development, research and faculty training, the alumni associations of universities have been charged to develop other sources of funding to support their alma mater, describing it as crucial to keep school fees to levels that is affordable for the majority of students.
The Pioneer Chairman of Association of Nigeria Universities Alumni, Stephen Fasakin gave this advice while delivering his remarks at the just concluded 3rd Quarterly Conference of the association, held at Veritas University, Abuja.
Fasakin, in a statement in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, on Tuesday, said despite all the good intentions of the government, funding gap in Federal and State Universities will likely grow, in the short and probably medium term.
The theme of the conference was, “The Role of Alumni Association as Stakeholders in Enhancing Quality University Education in Nigeria.”
He said, “It is imperative, therefore, that universities must develop other sources of funding in order to keep school fees to levels that is affordable for the majority of students.
“This, thus, is a major area for serious alumni intervention. It is an important mark of loyalty to our alma matter, an indication of financial stability derived from the good education we received, and a willingness to help future students of the alma mater.
“For example, an alumni association with an active membership of 100,000 who can afford to pay N12,000:00 per annum each will generate N1.2 billion a year for the alma matter. A steady flow of such amount, annually, can be quite significant in impact, including putting away some money in long time investments against rainy day.”
He, therefore, highlighted some areas besides financial support to include, volunteering time to serve their alma maters in various ways, such as part time lecturers, career guidance counselors and mentors for undergraduate and graduate students, members of the Governing Council and other working Committees of the university
Other areas are include, leveraging corporate bodies for endowment funding and partnerships for professional development patronage and access within the circles of government, acting as lobby groups on public matters, promoting good order, social and industrial peace and harmony in the Alma Mater, moral and ethical rectitude amongst students, faculty and staff.
“To achieve all of this, there must be a permanent seat for the president of all Alumni Association in Nigeria in the governing council of their alma mater to enable them have a first hand information as to the needs of their alma mater. I strongly advise that these areas should be looked into where it is non existing.” he added.
Also speaking, the Deputy Chairman, House Committee on TETFUND and Other Services, Aliyu Misau pointed out that the primary essence of forming alumni association was not only to give back or source resources for the development of the university or college alone but play a pivotal role to the provision of education and make significant impact on the educational system.
Misau said, “Alumni associations can advocate for policies and reforms that promote quality education in Nigeria, they can engage with government bodies, educational institutions, and other stakeholders to address issues such as curriculum development, teaching standards, and educational infrastructure.
“Alumni associations can support research and development initiatives in collaboration with educational institutions. By providing funding, resources, and expertise, alumni can contribute to the advancement of knowledge and innovation in various academic discipline.” he stated.