Why Nigerian varsities can’t be among world’s best, by don

Prof Ibrahim Garba

The vice chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University, (ABU) Zaria, Prof Ibrahim Garba has posited that the nation’s institutions are not ranked among the best in the world because the sector cannot be separated from the rot confronting the country.

Garba maintained that despite the increased number of universities, none can be ranked among the best as the institutions are part of the mess enveloping the society.

“The way we are going, Nigerian universities cannot be ranked among the best universities in the world, because you cannot remove them from the mess that surrounds the nation, they are part of it. If not for the grace of God and resilience, universities in the country would have been gone,” he said.

Speaking at a press briefing organised as part of activities to mark the 40th convocation of ABU, the vice chancellor blamed under performance of Nigerian universities and their inability to compete with their contemporaries across the world on government’s poor educational policies and improper funding of the sector.

While comparing the level of government’s investment on education to the achievable standard of education in the country, the Vice Chancellor lamented that the ratio of students to lecturers is beyond what Nigerian universities can handle.

According to him, “by design a lecturer is supposed to teach 50 students for quality, and now you give such lecturer three to four hundred students, without increasing his remuneration, welfare or nothing. Not even the teaching support was increased. So naturally, the lecturer would work at the best of his own ability, but certainly you cannot get the same quality products like someone who teaches 50 students.

“And worst still, government has continued to open more universities, as well as license private ones while the existing ones are mot well funded. When ABU is having the challenge of manpower, how do you think other universities would cope in producing qualified graduates?

“Government must be bold to either fund the universities or ask the students to pay. If you don’t do this, there will be no improvement on education. When an undergraduate is paying N20 thousand as charges for the whole year, and government says it has subsidised their fees, but the reverse is the case, and the students want to get a degree that is equivalent to that of Oxford University, is this realistic?



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