Idahosa Moses | Benin City
THE method of appointment and recruitment into Nigerian Universities by state governments have been identified as factors primarily responsible for the falling standards of tertiary education in the country.
This is just as incessant establishment of tertiary institutions by state governors as well as poor funding were other factors opined to be responsible for the falling standards in the nation’s higher education system.
The President, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, made the assertion while delivering his lecture 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 City.
Osedeke, said that the decadence in university education in Nigeria 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 globally.
The erudite Prof. of Soil Chemistry and Mineralogy of the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, 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 its pride of place.
“For the Nigerian Universities to conform to international standards and be able to source student and lecturers from the world, there has to be a paradigm shift, in terms of funding, governance, and interference from powerful political groups, and vested interest”, he posited.
In his welcome address, the Chairman of the occasion, Prof. Temi Akporhonor, said “addressing issues that bother tertiary education is a welcome development, especially at this time of the nation’s history.
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: “State of Tertiary Education in Nigeria: Identifying Historical Issues and Misconceptions; Contemplating Solutions, 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.
“Worse, successive Nigerian Governments have paid lip service to the development of education. In the same way, they have succeeded in destroying primary and secondary education in this country; they have been hacking away at the jugular of higher education”, he opined
It would be recalled that the Ralph Opara Memorial Lecture is a conception of the National Association of Seadogs, dedicated to the memory of one of Nigeria’s most outstanding and endearing broadcasting icon Late Ralph Chukwuemeka Opara.