Tag SDGs: President Buhari, here’s how to have world class universities in Nigeria
“We rank below a thousand, if we do not aspire to be among the world class universities, we cannot boast of a robust system capable of making the country among the top economies of the world. We have an abundance of talent who excel elsewhere but appear incapacitated at home. This is unacceptable.”
This was a part of President Buhari’s speech which was delivered by Professor Julius Okojie,(the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission) at the convocation ceremony of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi on Saturday. The president was lamenting the poor state of the university system in Nigeria, and placing part of the blame on the incessant strikes by the university lecturers. “The repercussions of a strike usually retard the smooth running of academic activities with heavy negative consequences,” Okojie said.
Strikes may very well be one of the reasons why a lot of people travel outside of the country to get an education, however, it is not the only reason. If the president and other stakeholders in the educational sector truly want to revamp Nigerian universities in order to get it up to world class standard, here are some suggestions:
Employing lecturers that are experts in their field of specialization is really crucial to the dissemination of knowledge to students. Learners and students can only benefit if their lecturers have the right skills. Employment in universities should strictly be based on the right qualifications rather than the ‘man-know-man’ method.
Research and innovation
One of the hallmarks of an outstanding university is research, which is ultimately the mother of innovation. A research-intensive university will definitely attract the attention of an international audience. To enable research, Nigerian universities should possess relevant educational materials both in offline and online resources.
Networking opportunities for students
One of the trademarks of a world class university is providing links between the school environment and the working world. This is done in order to bridge the gap between theory and practice. Students should be provided with mentors, people that are already established in the career paths that these students aspire too. That way, when they graduate, they are better prepared for the world that awaits them.
Facilitating informal meetings
Education should be well rounded and it does not only take place in the four walls of a classroom. It is time for universities to take conversations outside school and engage one another in meetings on several facets of the society in which they live in. These conversations can revolve around the arts and culture, terrorism and tribalism among others. Meetings like this can be held in bookstores, eateries, laboratories and libraries. It is time to take intellectual conversation to informal places.
In this age, if research is the mother of innovation, then technology is definitely the forebear of all. Technology has enabled the extension and accessibility of educational services. It is time for both the students and lecturers to tap into a wealth of knowledge through technology to improve their skills.
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