Rt Rev Olubinmi Akinlade

By Olusegun Obisanya

Bishop of the Diocese of Ife, Rt Rev Olubinmi Akinlade has called on the government to sustain the student’s loan scheme, which in his view will encourage many students in the country to go back or remain in school.

According to him, the scheme has the potential to improve the country’s human capital development index.

The cleric spoke during his Presidential address at the first session of the twelfth synod of the diocese which ended last Sunday.

Akinlade said, “I think the federal government has started addressing it. I’m aware that the president has launched the Student Loan Scheme, and has put Mr Jim Ovia to oversee the scheme. This idea, if we’ll implemented, is a laudable idea. When you look at the advanced countries of this world, they don’t have free education but they have student loan and scholarship. While the government put student’s loan scheme, individuals and State governments should also put up scholarships.

When a student knows that he’s on scholarship or he’s on loan, the idea of getting to campus misbehaving or loafing, the course of four years becoming ten years or more would be eliminated. Then you would have serious minded people on campuses. It’s not possible for parents to pay all these bills. And if you look way back, that was what some of the missionaries did, like the Church Missionary Society.

“When they came they set up schools, they gave scholarships to serious minded students. And that’s what has encouraged many people to go to school. I think we need to go back to that.”

He believed the government is making an effort to make education more accessible to indigent students. He advised however that the scheme shouldn’t be abused.

“So, I think the government is moving in the right direction. The important thing is that they must sustain it and they must be serious about it. The student loan scheme is a step in the right direction. Some of the fees being charged in tertiary institutions need to be negotiated, I’m talking of collective negotiation.

“And the government needs to step in just to make sure these schools are not exploiting to-be students. When it has been negotiated, and the fees are seen to be truly what it is needed, then it can continue. But if they found out that it is too expensive, something should be done to it. Of course, government has to continue sponsoring its own schools to some extent. So, it’s going to be a mix of all these things to arrive at the optimal solution.”

The Anglican Cleric reeled out scholarship programme the Diocese has rolled out, encouraging parents to bring their wards to school to be educated.

Akinlade noted: “In the diocese, we have different scholarship programmes. Some individuals have endowed the Diocese with money which we have invested and the proceed of it is what we are using to sponsor some students in higher institutions, in theological seminaries and even in our secondary school. The Diocese itself has set aside some amount of money to sponsor students in the schools. So, we encourage parents to bring their children so they can go to school.

“That’s what we are doing, that is our own capacity building, if I put it that way, our social responsibility to the community we serve. Because we learn from the CMS, who established our churches. That’s what they did; they gave scholarship to students then. We too are going back that way, and we are giving out scholarship. As a matter of fact, the Diocese on its own is giving out scholarship to 50 students. It doesn’t take care of everything but it goes a long way. And we’ll try and increase the as we go on.”


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