President Margee Ensign says protecting schools in Nigeria should be considered a far more beneficial option for policymakers than shutting them down. In the end, the President said, the social gains of investing in education security far outweigh the immediate cost benefits of closing schools due to insecurity.
Fielding questions with Education Editors in Lagos on Tuesday, October 5, 2021, President Ensign drew examples from the effort made by the AUN management during her first tenure as President. It was decided to keep the University open despite the decision of the Governments in the region to shut down schools as the insurgency drew closer to Adamawa State.
Rather than close down AUN, her administration galvanized the Adamawa Community to give succor to over 300,000 IDPs that massed into Yola and Jimeta escaping Boko Haram between 2014 and 2015.
"Today, our University is safer and more secure than ever because of the efforts we made then to rally community support when we had the easier option to just shut down and flee. If the airport is threatened by insurgents, you do not shut it down because it is a critical national infrastructure. There are important public places you cannot close down because there is insecurity. Schools and educational institutions must be considered that way. There should be no disruption in educating our youth. It should never be an option at any point. Schools must remain open and education must never stop. Government has a responsibility to protect schools because closure is counterproductive".
President Ensign reassured parents that Yola is a peaceful city and that the American University of Nigeria is an oasis of safety and security.
"Our fall semester is underway and we are eagerly expecting to receive new students in October. The incoming students will join the old students to access quality American-style education comparable to what is offered abroad, at a fraction of the cost. It is much cheaper educating Nigerian kids at home than sending them abroad. And sending them abroad is denying them the important national and regional network they need to become leaders in society. At AUN, enrolled students have the option to study abroad if they want and qualify, at any of the other universities that make up the Association of American International Colleges and Universities (AAICU) to which AUN belongs. And at no extra tuition; they only pay their AUN fees. It is a great deal for Nigerian parents, getting the best of two worlds at a fraction of the tuition fees."
Reported by Grace Togor Passa