By Steve Oni, Ilorin
Vice- Chancellors of Nigerian universities have lamented the country’s poor investment in education, saying it is tantamount to sentencing the Country to a bleak future.
The VCs under the aegis of Association of Vice- Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (AVCNU) made the declaration on Monday at the opening of their 32nd conference held at the Kwara state University, Malete.
The association added that poor investment in education would leave Nigerian children and the economy weak and unprotected.
The Chairman of AVCNU, Prof. Debo Adeyewa spoke on behalf of his colleagues.
Adeyewa, who is also the Vice Chancellor of Redeemer’s University, Ede, Osun state, therefore, urged governments at all levels to fund education adequately.
He said: “It is imperative to state the fact that without adequate
Investment in education, Nigeria cannot compete favourabluy in the marketplace of the knowledge economy in the 21st century and that there is no poverty alleviation without significant improvement in educational standard through a deliberate and momentus increase in the funding of education.”
He charged university leaders responsible for the provision of qualitative higher education to come up with solutions that the “problems of paucity of finance, deficit of knowledge infrastructure, governance, policy inconsistency and other solutions relevant to the needs of society.
“We need to address the nagging questions to ensure the provision of functional and quality education required for national development in the 21st century through our universities.”
Adeyewa added that “we have formidable challenges confronting our universities and our dear nation”, adding that the employability of our graduates, entrepreneurship, quality assurance, relevance to sustainable development, climate change, leveraging on ICT and open education resources and international collaboration in the Nigerian university system are some of the challenges confronting the universities.”
Declaring the conference open, the Kwara state governor, Alh Abdulfatah Ahmed tasked the university vice chancellors to promote real research instead of the book review that is prevalent over the years.
Represented by the state Commissioner for Tertiary Education, Governor Ahmed said that “it is only through pragmatic approach that we can guarantee sustainable growth in our country. Unless and until we graduate students as job creators, our saturated market of unemployable youths can at best remain time bombs that would do us no good.”
Earlier, Vice Chancellor of KWASU, Prof Abdulrasheed Na’Allah, had urged university administrators to collaborate with government to stop incessant strikes by lecturers, adding that most university lecturers don’t treat their students like clients. “If we are determined to have 21st century universities, we have to ensure that our universities are theatres of research. There cannot be development without universities. Nigerian universities have no other cause but to change the fortune of Nigeria,” he added.