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Lamentable State of Nigerian Universities

20 December 2012, 09:45

The university system of education in Nigeria is indeed in difficult situation. From the assessment of public universities in the country embarked upon by the federal government, it was revealed that public universities in the country have not been able to compete with the counterparts in the world due to manpower and infrastructural problems.

It is a known fact that a steady decline in the quality of infrastructures like lecture rooms, laboratories, libraries, hostels and staff and non teaching staff quarters. There is also deficit in the high quality lecturers such as seasoned professors as well as doctorate degree holders. In effect, many universities in the country today now rely on the services of visiting professors. This is the terrible state of Nigerian universities; an ugly reflection of the overall decadence in the country itself. According to history, it was undisputed fact that the nation started very well on a sound educational foundation at independence by establishing universities that produced quality graduates.

This rat race in the society today has eaten so deep into the fabrics of education that we abandoned merit for favoritism. It is a matter of who you know in high places of authority.

This has succeeded in taking us to a level where lecturers usually compromised by students just to get unmerited grades. One is right to say that our university system has lost a sense of decorum and decency and therefore the lecturers do not see such act as a cankerworm capable of destroying the ideals of university education in the country. Is it not an irony that a country where there is a short supply of Ph.D holders, there is still a plethora of doctorate degree holders roaming the streets as unemployed? This is utterly lamentable.

The way out of this difficult situation is definitely not to lament about it but to go back to the drawing board. It entails a return to the established customs upon which the society was originally founded. We have to retrace our steps. The solution to me doesn’t lie in building hundreds of universities but rather to effectively equip and fund the existing ones. It makes more sense to have a few quality universities of global standard than to have universities scattered everywhere without quality. Yes, quality is better than quantity.

Planting universities all over the place is one of the major problems facing Nigerian universities. The National Universities Commission (NUC) whose duty is to regulate university education should take a good look at this and act accordingly to salvage this ugly situation. Sometime in the past, some members of NUC were accused of taking bribe to accredit universities but this should stop. It (NUC) should also insist on standards on our universities. If we must be taken seriously in the international community, then this trend must discontinue.

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