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Osuntokun scores Jonathan low in education PDF Print E-mail
Written by MOJEED ALABI   
Jun 01, 2013 at 01:21 AM

Former Presidents and Jonathan

Akinjide Osuntokun is an Emeritus Professor of History and Strategic studies and Director of the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) in the US between 1979 and 1982. The current Governing Council Chairman, Ekiti State University (EKSU), Ado-Ekiti, takes a look at the nation’s education sector in the last two years of President Jonathan’s administration and rues the President’s performance. MOJEED ALABI reports.

It is simply rhetorically true that Nigeria’s education sector is steeply collapsing, but to Akinjide Osuntokun, an Emeritus Professor of History and Strategic Studies, and Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Letters, the fact that the problems with the sector have now become cumulative on the watch of a supposedly academic- President Goodluck Jonathan, is unacceptable.

Osuntokun, in an exclusive interview with National Mirror recently, took a swipe at the President’s educational programmes and policies within the last two years of his administration and concluded that rather than leveraging on his background as a lecturer to redirect the country’s education system, he said Jonathan’s poor policies have further plunged the sector in more troubles.

According to the Chairman of Governing Council, Ekiti State University (EKSU), Ado-Ekiti, the recent creation of 12 additional universities could simply be described as mindboggling.

This decision he furiously criticized, saying playing such politics with a key sector of national economy like education could be disastrous for a nation in dire need of development like Nigeria. “The President’s sudden creation of nine or 10 universities all at the same time is simply mind boggling.

This may be politically wise but it does not solve the problem of limited space for admission of qualified students. The billions of naira being spent to establish these universities could have been spent to expand the present federal universities. Recently 1.7million young people took UTME and all the present tertiary institutions in Nigeria will only be able to absorb about 525,000.

This will leave 1.2 million people roaming the streets, going to neighbouring countries or attending fake colleges or universities. So the problem of available space becomes a problem.

The new institutions created do not have the staff necessary for proper take off, lecturers are being rapidly promoted to be professors and some of their vicechancellors are inexperienced to say the least and are political appointees. The councils of most federal universities are populated by politicians and retired soldiers.

One finds this strange in a regime headed by an academic,” he stated. While noting that funding is a major challenge facing the sector, Osuntokun stated that such excuse could not be said to be tenable considering large scale mismanagement of resources taking place in virtually all the academic institutions in the country.

Without specifically mentioning an institution, he sees the widespread malpractices during the last Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination conducted by the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) as a reflection of the happenings in the larger society.

He thereforere commented that until a wholesale review and reform of the education system in the country is carried out, there may be no end in sight to the current rot in the system. “The problem of education has to be tackled from the roots; from primary and secondary schools before facing the problems of tertiary institutions.

There is therefore a need for wholesale examination of the problem of education in Nigeria. Infrastructure collapse must be addressed; waning moral values, discipline and corruption among both students and staff must be resolved if we are to get to anywhere,” Osuntokun added.

Speaking further on the creation of the new universities, the professor condemned the proliferation of private universities, saying the National Universities Commission (NUC) saddled with the responsibility of licensing these institutions seems to be failing in its responsibility. “After the Pandora box of private universities was opened, there had been a mad rush of various sectarian organizations and individual businessmen and all kinds of do-gooders to establish universities. The result has not been uniformly good.

In general, most of the sectarian universities are likely to have some quality, although no one can vouch for this, but very few of those established by individuals have any quality whatsoever.

Unfortunately, this tendency is undermining the genuine efforts of those who are committed to public good like Chief Afe Babalola and Chief Ade-Ojo, who by all standards have built institutions that are certainly physically imposing. The NUC needs to be very careful in approv


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Comment by admin on 2013-06-07 01:43:29
Well done!

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