Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State, spends between N80 and N85 million every month on power supply, amounting to about N1 billion annually, the school’s vice chancellor has said.
The VC, Ademola Tayo, a professor, said this in an interview with PREMIUM TIMES ahead of the 60th anniversary celebration of the establishment of the academic institution as a college, and 20th anniversary as Nigeria’s pioneer private university.
Mr. Tayo said this to justify the claim of high cost of education across many Nigerian private universities. He said like other investments, the prevailing business environment under which the universities operate is not only unfriendly but also discouraging.
The vice-chancellor cited cases of multiple taxations, high foreign exchange rates, high interest rates, high inflation, policy inconsistency, and poor infrastructural facilities such as power, water, among others, as part of reasons for the increasing cost of education in private institutions.
He said for the university to enjoy uninterrupted power supply, it invested heavily on an independent power project, which now generates 4.5 megawatts of electricity.
He said; “It is true that the cost of education is high but ironically, the cost of ignorance is far higher. As an academic institution that is committed to maintaining standards set by Nigeria and the Seventh Day Adventist Church worldwide, Babcock University cannot afford to offer poor quality of education.
“Also, when you consider what we offer here and the money paid, you will realise it is equivalent to what students of public universities pay. For instance, whatever fee we charge, embedded therein are fees for accommodation, feeding, uninterrupted power supply, internet facilities, among others.
“So if you calculate what students of public universities spend on transportation, accommodation, feeding, power, and yet without proper security in their rented apartments, epileptic power supply and poor access to internet facilities, you would understand how cheap private universities are.
He added that what gives the private universities edge above their public counterparts is just the culture of accountability, which he noted, is built by efficient leadership.
In comparison, while law students at Babcock University pay as high as N1.7 million per session, their counterparts in public universities and particularly federal government owned such as the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka, pay as low as N90,000. Students pay separately for accommodation and take care of feeding and other costs.
To study Medicine at Babcock University, students pay up to N3.7 million per session but across many public universities including those owned by either state or federal government, students pay an average of N200,000.
There are, however, few public universities particularly those owned by state governments, such as the University of Medical Sciences, Ondo, among others, that charge as high as N500,000 for medical programmes.
Marking two decades as a private university
The vice-chancellor eulogised the founders of the faith-based institution for what he described as their foresight and achievements within the last 60 years of the establishment of the seminary, which metamorphosed into a university in 1999.
According to the vice-chancellor, the university, established on September 17, 1959 as Adventist College of West Africa with only seven pioneer students, metamorphosed to Adventist Seminary of West Africa, and now a university with about 12,000 students enrolment and 19 halls of residence for the students.
He said after it was handed accreditation certificate in April 1999 alongside two others, the institution became the first private university in Nigeria to admit students on September 13, 1999 and graduated first set in June, 2003.
The vice-chancellor added; “We started with 160 students, and we also became the first private university to enrol graduates for the national youth service scheme. Today, we are a force to reckon with not just in Africa but globally. With our partnership with America-based Tristate Cardiovascular Institute, our teaching hospital has successfully conducted more than 300 open heart surgeries and has produced the first set of cardiovascular interventionists trained in Nigeria, who performed a procedure known as cardiac catherisation.”
To mark the anniversary, which is themed; “The Journey of Grace,” the chairman of the committee and deputy vice-chancellor, management services, Sunday Owolabi, a professor, listed series of activities lined up by the university.
According to Mr. Owolabi, the institution plans to conduct medical outreach to the host community of Ilishan-Remo and other neighbouring towns including Ikenne, Ilara, among others.
He added that an anniversary lecture to be delivered by its immediate past vice-chancellor, James Kayode-Makinde with service award for workers on the campus who have spent up to 35 years.
“On September 17, which is the D-day, there will be in attendance eminent personalities including governors, philanthropists and supporters, where the vice-chancellor would be tracing the journey so far and honour those deserving of awards for standing firmly with the institution,” Mr Owolabi added.