Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
The Chairman, Agreement Renegotiation Committee of Nigerian Universities, Dr. Wale Babalakin SAN has said Nigeria must restructure its university and secondary school system to turn out employable graduates and regain respect of world community.
This he said becomes imperative because of the current ranking of the country’s best university as 800th in the world.
Delivering the seventh convocation lecture of the Kwara State University (KWASU), Malete weekend, Babalakin said the country must start its education system all over again. He stressed the need for state and federal governments to channel adequate funding into secondary and university education.
According to him, quality products from secondary schools would ensure good and quality university graduates, adding that Nigeria requires an average of N1.1 million to train each undergraduate in its universities annually.
The legal luminary, who was awarded an honorary doctoral degree in Law at the ceremony, decried the current situation in Nigerian secondary schools where he said there is over-population of students in classes without adequate facilities and teaching staff to ensure quality learning.
While advising the country to promote free education if affordable, Babalakin however said quantity should not be sacrificed for quality.
He charged the Kwara State government to use KWASU as a pilot scheme to restructure the country’s education system by providing adequate funding, saying that a situation where grant was not provided to the university in the last five years did not augur well for the promotion of quality education.
He also regretted the current situation whereby expatriates are being employed instead of Nigerian graduates, while multi-national organisations are no longer managed by Nigerians unlike in the past due to perceived low quality of graduates.
“There is hope, but we have to start afresh. We must have an education system that is globally competitive. It’s not sufficient to fund a university, it should be properly funded. The world is not waiting for us.
“The world will start to respect us if we make our universities world class. Even when we say there is no money I believe that with ingenious application, the money will become available,” he said.
Also speaking, the Vice-Chancellor of KWASU, Professor AbdulRasheed Na’Allah said the major challenge of the institution is funding, adding, “for five years now, the university has not received subvention from government, not towards salary, not towards overhead, not towards nothing!”
The VC said the institution has established a foundation with contributions from philanthropists that will also manage it with zero intervention from government and the university management.