The President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, has said the establishment of universities with the wrong template for funding is one of the factors responsible for the falling standard of tertiary education in the country.
He stated this while delivering a paper at the 14th Ralph Opara Memorial Lecture, tagged, “State of tertiary education in Nigeria: Identifying historical issues and misconceptions, contemplating solutions,” organised by the National Association of Seadogs, in Benin at the weekend.
The ASUU President also noted that the method of appointment and recruitment into state-owned universities by the government has also contributed to the problem.Osedeke said that the rot in the university education of the country started during the Shehu Shagari and Babagida’s administrations when they allegedly surrendered the country to the Brethren Wood Institutions of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
He noted that prior to the two administrations, the nation’s tertiary education was ranked amongst the best in the world.The ASUU President, however, suggested that there should be a paradigm shift, in terms of funding, governance and interference from political groups and vested interest in order for Nigerian universities to return back to their pride of place.
“One of the major problems facing the tertiary institution is the establishment of universities without template for funding.Also, the method of appointment and recruitment into state-owned universities by the government has also been a problem.Earlier in his opening remark, the National President of NAS, Abiola Owoaje, said that the environment of learning and intellectualism is crucial to the group, noting that the Ralph Opara Memorial Lecture has become a rallying point for deep introspection on national and international topical issues.
He said, “This intellectual platform keeps evolving as a versatile crucible for cerebral and stimulating discourses geared towards expanding the frontiers of knowledge and interrogating complex socio-political and economic formulas while championing informed, radical and bold solutions for the good of the community of humanity.
“The theme for this year’s lecture reflects our deep concern for the decadence that tertiary education has become in Nigeria.“Many of us were schooled in Nigeria when our tertiary institutions were indeed citadels of learning, intellectual fervour flamed, and ideological orientations were anchored on learning and making Nigeria progressively great.
“Now the situation is pathetic. Our citadels of learning have become breeding grounds for gangsterism, extremist elements and festering criminality.Also, successive governments have paid lip service to the development of education and are bent on destroying tertiary institutions as they did to primary and secondary education,” he noted.
In his welcome address, the Chairman of the occasion, Prof. Temi Akporhonor, said that addressing issues affecting tertiary education is a welcome development, especially at this time in the nation’s history.