interviewBy Lami Sadiq, Jos
Dr Salihu Dasuki Nakande may likely be the youngest PhD holder in northern Nigeria. Born in Kaduna on October 12, 1987 into the family of Ibrahim Dasuki Salihu Nakande, a former Minister of Information and Communications, this vibrant indigene of Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau State attended King's College Lagos for his Junior Secondary School from 1998-2001. He completed his Senior Secondary School at El-Amin International School, Minna, in 2004 then proceeded to Eastern Mediterranean University, north Cyprus for his BSc in Information Technology where he bagged a first class honours in 2008. In 2009, Dr Salihu completed his Masters degree in Information Systems Management from Brunel University, West London and wrapped up his doctoral degree (PhD) at the Brunel University Centre for Information Systems Research in 2012, making him one of the youngest PhD holders in Nigeria. The young educationist shares his thoughts on the Nigerian education sector with Daily Trust.
What are your observations on the Nigerian university system as compared to what you went through abroad?
Based on my personal experience having studied for four years in Cyprus and almost four years in England, I can tell you that Nigeria's education system is very different when compared to what is obtained in Europe. European universities are well funded, they are well equipped and their lecturers are well trained. As a student, you also get a lot of encouragement from both the teachers and the students.
Here in Nigeria, universities have no adequate infrastructure and equipment that will cater for all the students. There is also no funding. I was with a professor from the University of Abuja recently and he told me that there are lecturers who do not have the required qualification yet they are lecturing. You don't see this in the UK, in fact, you can never be a university lecturer without obtaining a PhD over there.
How do you think the Nigerian government can address the decaying situation in our education system?
The major impediment to our educational success is corruption. Yes, the decay is also politically related, and as long as politics is playing a major role in our educational institutions, we will continue to have problems.
We also have many investigative committees set up by governments that looked into most of the problems in the education sector yet their reports are left unimplemented. So until we are able to do away with these problems the system will continue to suffer major sets backs.
Now that you are a PhD graduate, do you have plans to go into the academia?
Yes I will want to be involved in the academia, but you know our institutions of learning, are of two types, we have what we call the conventional (public) government universities, and the private universities.
In the public universities we have problems associated with lack of equipment, over population and other issues. A friend of mine who studied Science Engineering once told me that he asked his lecturer about a machine they were discussing in class and the lecturer told him he had never seen the machine. So everything practical is missing in our public institutions and that is why I may probably end up going into the private institutions. However, I really want to lecture in the public university so that I can give back to the general public, because majority of the masses go to the public university.
What is your call to parents concerning the education of their children?
I know that every parent wants his or her child to get the best education they can afford. They want to send their children to private schools because of the constant strikes in the public schools but many cannot, due to the economic hardship in the country. However, despite all these discouraging factors, my call to parents is to never give up, they should continue to strive hard to provide their children with the best education they can afford.