Stories by Dayo Adesulu
IT has been disclosed that the 162 universities in Nigeria need 1.2 million teachers to teach the various accredited courses in the universities. According to the National Universities Commission, NUC, the country presently has 41 federal universities, 47 state universities and 74 private universities.
Speaking at the investiture of the University of Lagos, UNILAG’s 12th Vice-Chancellor, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council, UNILAG, Dr. Wale Babalakin (SAN) said: “According to NUC, Nigerian universities require 1.2 million graduates to teach accredited courses in the universities.”
While stressing the need for adequate funding of education, he disclosed that most states cannot adequately fund their universities.
Babalakin posited that state universities would be the best institutions if properly funded. He, however, noted that among the state governments, only the Lagos State has conveniently funded its university.
Explaining how difficult it is for the Federal Government to fund the 41 federal universities, he said that with a population of about 40,000 students, UNILAG receives between N10 billion and N11 billion from the Federal Government annually. “With a population of over 40,000 students, it will require N48 billion annually to effectively reposition its academic activities,” he said.
The pro-chancellor maintained that for academic activities to thrive, more investments and commitments from key stakeholders must be in place. He urged the Lagos State governor to assist UNILAG in the various projects before the institution which happens to be his alma mater.
Babalakin, who lamented the decadence in the sector, noted that there are no Nigerian universities ranked among 800 institutions in the world. Recalling with nostalgia the global competitiveness of Nigerian universities in the 60s, Babalakin pointed out that University College Hospital, UCH, Ibadan was the pride of Commonwealth countries.
According to him, among the Commonwealth nations, UCH was ranked top, adding that all hands should be on deck to bring back the past glory.
Meanwhile, the UNILAG 12th Vice-Chancellor, Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, in his investiture speech said that his vision was to build a UNILAG that is first among equals, producing graduates that are locally relevant, globally competitive and are able to advance their visibility as a research and innovation-driven institution.
He added that his mission was to build the spirit of collectivism and value re-orientation in advancing total human capital and in infrastructural development befitting a 21st Century globally competitive university.
He said: “I am determined to rebrand the university and ensure that it becomes a hub for research by the end of my tenure in 2022. I am glad that our management team as well as members of staff are already keying into the vision, this is evident in the growing desire by our faculty to carry out research.
“I have also considered it extremely necessary to visit our major stakeholders, to emphasise the importance we attach to our relationship with them and intimate them of our plans to open new frontiers through collaboration. We reckon that our friends and alumni must join us in building a university that we shall all be proud of.
“We are ready to deploy our human and physical resources to assist. We are ready to undertake cutting-edge research to address urgent national issues. I have personally challenged our staff and students to make good use of their ingenuity and resourcefulness. This is exemplified by a group that was recently commissioned to develop zero-emission cars that can be used on our campus and by farmers to transport their farm produce to the market.
“Prominent among my goals is setting up a modular refinery as well as obtaining a mining licence for the university. When in place, the refinery and mining sites will serve as laboratories for our students in the faculties of Engineering, Science and other related faculties.
“This model is already in use at UNILAG Television and UNILAG Radio, where our Mass Communication students are trained to be top class journalists. We are committed to enriching the experiences of our students by providing the conducive atmosphere for them to excel. We are also aware of the students’ ingenuity, thus, the Entrepreneurship and Skills Development Centre is being reinvigorated to sharpen their business skills and promote their innovative ideas.”
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