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An ideology worthy of emulation (5)

“Sometimes in our lives, we all have pain,

we all have sorrow.

If there is a load you have to bear

That you can’t carry I’m right up the road

I’ll share your load if you just call me.”

I’ll be your friend I’ll help you carry on”.

 

Last week I examined the poor state of funding in Nigeria and compared it what is obtainable in some private universities in other parts of the world. i stated how difficult it would be for Nigerian Universities to compete favourable with such foreign universities. I believe the way forward is for Nigerians to imbibe a culture of giving and investing in education. This can take several forms, establishment of private universities being one of such.

 

PRIVATE EDUCATION AS THE HOPE OF NIGERIA’S TERTIARY EDUCATION:

Private universities have come to stay in Nigeria and in the last decade, have performed better than most public Universities in terms of staffing, training of teachers and scholars, learning, discipline and even in the area of provision of infrastructure. Last year, students of Afe Babalola University won the IMAGINE Cup Championship for Africa Organised by Microsoft Corporation drawing participants from Universities across the world and this year another set of students won the coveted top prize in the Unilever Future Leaders League contested by universities all over the world.

Prior to the advent of Private Universities in Nigeria, many wealthy Nigerians took pride in sending their children to foreign Universities such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Cambridge and Oxford etc. This was in the quest to give their children qualitative education while avoiding incessant strikes, unstable academic calendars, cultism, drug and other substance abuse, and general moral decadence which had become the hallmark of Nigerian public Universities.

With respect to many of these ills, Private Universities have provided an acceptable alternative to public Universities. Parents and sponsors can now predict with mathematical precision the date of graduation of their children and wards, be sure that they are not exposed to the moral decadence which had become the hallmark of undergraduates in Nigerian universities. This is positive and completely different from the way things used to be.

There is a common challenge faced by Private and Public universities alike in Nigeria, which clearly is “Funding”. Funding is a problem because while education is very expensive even in Nigeria, Universities, especially private Universities in Nigeria are the cheapest in the world.

Fundraising for Educational institutions is a difficult undertaking because of the misconceived notion long-held by Nigerians that education must be free and that government must provide free education. This notion was fed to Nigerians by the government itself through acts of successive government. For example, the University of Ibadan was established in 1948 as a public University where almost everything was free, and other Universities founded after it followed the same pattern. Therefore Nigerians erroneously believe that only government can provide education and that education must be free. This erroneous idea is compounded by politicians who deceive the people by promising free education or who establish universities in their home villages.

 

PHILOSOPHY OF PHILANTHROPY AND ITS BENEFITS TO EDUCATION:

Philanthropy means etymologically, the love of humanity. In business and education, supporting the right cause is more important than any other factor. When investors make a decision to invest in business, they look out for investments that will make efficient use of their funds and deliver the best returns in line with their goals. The same principle can be applied in philanthropy to give to institutions which can deliver on specific goals. This is an advantage because tertiary educational institutions usually have specific goals, run by the right people with the high possibility of achieving set objectives. Donors such as Rotary and Rotarians, who are interested in education, should channel energies and funding to institutions where people who have demonstrated a genuine interest in qualitative education are. Donating to education is a right course to steer because the important contributions education has and shall continue to make in numerous areas of human endeavour can never be over-emphasized. Donors should therefore seek out tertiary educational institutions which have already demonstrated interest in specific causes so as to make concrete and long-lasting impact

Education and educational institutions have always benefitted from philanthropy and for an organization such as ROTARY INTERNATIONAL, contribution to education will most likely help produce future capable Rotarians which is definitely beneficial to ROTARY INTERNATIONAL. In my estimation, nothing best captures the ideals behind the actions of the organisation than the words of a song which was rendered at the occasion where I delivered a lecture and which song I learned is also customarily sang at its gatherings. So beautiful was the rendition of the song “Lean on me” that almost everyone present was moved. I therefore wish to conclude this series with a reproduction of the lyrics of the song in the hope that many will end up being inspired by it and much like Rotary find ways to contribute in one way or the other to the development of our society through philanthropic means.

“Sometimes in our lives, we all have pain, we all have sorrow.

But if we are not wise, we know that there’s always tomorrow.

 

Lean on me when you’re not strong

I’ll be your friend I’ll help you carry on

For it won’t be long ‘til I’m gonna need

Somebody to lean on.

 

Please swallow your pride

If I have things you need to borrow

For no one can fill those of your needs

That you won’t let show.

 

You just call on me, brother, when you need a hand

We all need somebody to lean on.

I just might have a problem that you’ll understand,

We all need somebody to lean on.

 

Lean on me when you’re not strong

And I’ll be your friend I’ll help you carry on

For it won’t be long ‘til I’m gonna need

Somebody to lean on

 

You just call on me, brother, when you need a hand

We all need somebody to lean on.

I just might have a problem that you’ll understand,

We all need somebody to lean on.

 

If there is a load you have to bear

That you can’t carry I’m right up the road

I’ll share your load if you just call me.”