Why Nige­rian var­si­ties can’t be among world’s best, by don

The Guardian (Nigeria) - - EDUCATION - From Alabi Ab­dul

THE vice chan­cel­lor, Ah­madu Bello Univer­sity, (ABU) Zaria, Prof Ibrahim Garba has posited that the na­tion’s in­sti­tu­tions are not ranked among the best in the world be­cause the sec­tor can­not be sep­a­rated from the rot con­fronting the coun­try.

Garba main­tained that de­spite the in­creased num­ber of uni­ver­si­ties, none can be ranked among the best as the in­sti­tu­tions are part of the mess en­velop­ing the so­ci­ety .

“The way we are go­ing, Nige­rian uni­ver­si­ties can­not be ranked among the best uni­ver­si­ties in the world, be­cause y ou can­not re­move them from the mess that sur­rounds the na­tion, they are part of it. If not for the grace of God and re­silience, uni­ver­si­ties in the coun­try would ha ve been gone,” he said.

Speak­ing at a press brief­ing or­gan­ised as part of ac­tivi- ties to mark the 40th con­vo­ca­tion of ABU, the vice chan­cel­lor blamed un­der per­for­mance of Nige­rian uni­ver­si­ties and their in­abil­ity to com­pete with their con­tem­po­raries across the world on gov­ern­ment’s poor ed­u­ca­tional poli­cies and im­proper fund­ing of the sec­tor.

While com­par­ing the level of gov­ern­ment’s in­vest­ment on ed­u­ca­tion to the achiev­able stan­dard of ed­u­ca­tion in the coun­try, the Vice Chan­cel­lor lamented that the ra­tio of stu­dents to lec­tur­ers is be­yond what Nige­rian uni­ver­si­ties can han­dle.

Ac­cord­ing to him, “by de­sign a lec­turer is sup­posed to teach 50 stu­dents for qual­ity, and now you give such lec­turer three to four hun­dred stu­dents, with­out in­creas­ing his re­mu­ner­a­tion, wel­fare or noth­ing. Not even the teach­ing sup­port was in­creased. So nat­u­rally, the lec­turer would work at the best of his own abil­ity, but cer­tainly you can­not get the same qual­ity prod­ucts like some­one who teaches 50 stu­dents.

“And worst still, gov­ern­ment has con­tin­ued to open more uni­ver­si­ties, as well as li­cense pri­vate ones while the ex­ist­ing ones are mot well funded. When ABU is hav­ing the chal­lenge of man­power, how do you think other uni­ver­si­ties would cope in pro­duc­ing qual­i­fied grad­u­ates? “Gov­ern­ment must be bold to ei­ther fund the uni­ver­si­ties or ask the stu­dents to pay. If you don’t do this, there will be no im­prove­ment on ed­u­ca­tion. When an un­der­grad­u­ate is pay­ing N20 thou­sand as charges for the whole year, and gov­ern­ment says it has sub­sidised their fees, but the re­verse is the case, and the stu­dents want to get a de­gree that is equiv­a­lent to that of Ox­ford Univer­sity, is this re­al­is­tic?

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