Prof Odugbemi Identifies Paucity Of Funds As Bane Of Varsity Education
Former Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Professor Tolu Odugbemi has identified paucity of funds and quality manpower as the bane of university education in Nigeria.
He said this in a presentation, entitled, “Education In Nigeria: The Way Forward In 2018”, adding that Universities need to be properly funded to make institutions have solid infrastructure, and attract and retain good and great staff and push out meaningful research findings.
“It is noted that funding remains a big challenge in Nigeria however even in developed countries like Canada, USA, UK etc. with great institutions, funding is critical but all other sources to yield funding to make institutions viable and optimal are explored. Apart from government subventions, other potential sources of funding which are not fully explored are needed,” he said.
In order to get better and effective results for products of our institutions, there must be reorientation to provide insight or a way forward for the government, unions and staff, students and other stakeholders: parents, employers of labours.
According to him, It is not the number of universities in any area/ state/ nation that matters but the quality. There must be political will on the part of the Government to be focused on quality.
“Universities, for example, are centres which thrive on the passion in knowledge gaining and transfer, and societal development. Our universities have to work hard with the right and eminently qualified staff with the passion for Education, excellence and break-through to impact the society positively. Many universities are not fulfilling their mandates of teaching, research and community development. My experience is that local communities see universities sited in their domains as local community institutions for employing all their community members at any time without recourse to the needs of the universities or budgetary allocations and societal relevance.
In the past, our universities in Nigeria recruited top scholars and administrators from USA, U.K, India, Canada, Egypt, Ghana other Commonwealth countries, etc. Furthermore, students from these other countries come to our tertiary institutions to study. Today, our students move to other countries where they pay heavily to attend institutions ‘abroad’ to cover accommodation and tuitions. I must point out that these institutions situated abroad are really well-equipped with assorted learning resources. Universities are supposed to be international, and contributions should not be of mean value. There is an urgent need for reorientation of various communities to note that universities located in their communities will certainly influence their communities one way one or other by outstanding research output making the outlook of university towns better.
Appropriate criteria for appointments and promotions of principal officers, staff and administrators are often bent by ill-qualified university “leaders. We must make our universities truly universal, and of highest standards to make the so-called universities solve societal problems. Universities need to be properly funded to make institutions have solid infrastructure, and attract and retain good and great staff and push out meaningful research findings.
Orientation programmes to re-educate communities to raise funds to offer scholarships to their needy indigenes, to donate in cash and in-kind to achieve desired positive results.