The value of funding in education was underscored by the decision of the Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to increase by 100 percent the bursary of students of Lagos State origin.
Bursaries, by definition, do not cover all the cost of education. It is a grant that, however, serves the need of the individual to cover some of the needs that include feeding.
The announcement affects all categories of students in higher institutions and it does not cover the Lagos State University (LASU) alone. Students who are new intakes, arts, science, law, engineering and medical students will benefit. Those who are physically impaired are not left out. New intakes will get N35,000, arts students are entitled to N20, 000 except those who attend LASU who will get N25,000. Science students will rake in N30, 000 while those in law, engineering and medical sciences will receive N50k. Law students, however, will obtain N200,000.
This increase was announced by the executive secretary of the Lagos State Scholarship Fund, Abdur Rahaman Lekki, who noted that the state undertakes a rigorous process before giving out the money to students.
This is because some students had in the past obtained it by fraud. Some who had taken the money were no students at all and some others continued to benefit even after they had graduated. The conditions include evidence of status as an indigene from a king or local government council, letter of latest admission, students identification, birth certificate, academic certificate, Lagos State Residents Registration Agency identification card, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) slip, etc.
“The ongoing data-cleansing/verification exercise is to ensure that only qualified students of Lagos State origin benefited from the scheme,” said Lekki. Lekki also noted the review assures the sustenance of the bursary.
“That is even enough for you to know there was no plan at any time to stop the scheme. Both bursary and scholarship schemes will continue unstopped for the benefits of our students. “Rather than stopping it, the governor will continue to improve on it as part of the measures to realise his vision for sustainable educational growth for the state, in line with the T.H.E.M.E.S development agenda,” he said.
The government also disclosed that it had, on October 17, paid all outstanding money to the students of the Lagos State College of Health technology (LASCOHET) for the 2020/2021 academic session.
It noted that assessment of all potential fresh beneficiaries will take place on October 29.
This is not the only such benefit that the government affords students of the state. It also announced that the Lagos State Economic Summit, also known as Ehingbeti Summit, has approved what it called the Lagos Diaspora Scholarship for indigenes who attend schools abroad.
The announcement put the stoppers on speculations that some students of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) and National Students of Lagos State Students (NULASS) were on the verge of a strike. It reinforces how much value students place on the money for their education.
For decades, students of higher institutions have placed high premium on additional funding. To some, the only extra funding they can ever wish is the bursary. While it is no jumbo sum, the students know it covers some needs in the course of their studies.
The gift follows the decision of Governor Sanwo-Olu to increase the salaries of state workers across board.
It is an indication that the state enjoys not only prudence but also a creative fecundity, and can tap on its excess to benefit its citizens. It is an example to other states. But to do that, they must explore latent endowments, and there is no state in the federation that cannot follow the Lagos model.