How state varsities can achieve sustainability —Pro-chancellors

FOR state universities to effectively achieve their mandates, especially in the light of the current economic realities, there is a need for them to, among other things, intensify their internal revenue generation drives.

As a matter of necessity, they must step up their commercial activities and consultancy services, as well as incorporate vocational studies in their curriculum.

These are some of the resolutions arrived at during the recent 4th Biennial  Conference of the Committee of Pro-chancellors of State-owned Universities (CPSUN), hosted by the Tai Solarin University of Education (TASUED), Ijagun, Ogun State.

The theme of the three-day conference was ‘Current Challenges Facing State Universities and the Way Forward’

In its communiqué, the body of pro-chancellors identified acute underfunding, poor infrastructural and research facilities, political interference in the university governance and erosion of autonomy as some of the challenges facing state universities in Nigeria.

It particularly noted that state universities cannot operate effectively without charging appropriate tuition and other fees; and expressed concern over “government’s imposition of fees for political reasons.”

CPSUN challenged members of university councils to protect the sanctity and autonomy of the university system.

It also identified “undefined relevance of the curriculum to the demand and realities of the society” and inadequate collaboration between universities and industries.

The conference noted that most state universities rely too heavily on government funding, keep overblown non-teaching staff, and suffer heavily from government control and policy imposition.

In tackling these challenges, the conference said university managers would have to “think outside the box by employing workable strategies.”

In this regard, a proposal was adopted to understudy TASUED and the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) as models. These two institutions are deemed to have achieved great strides and successes in effective resource management and creative revenue generation models, among others.

There was also a call to university management to make judicious management of funds and institutionalisation of realistic annual budgeting a priority.

CPSUN also called on the National Universities Commission to interface with pro-chancellors of state universities for the understanding of their peculiar challenges.