The Pro-chancellor and Chairman, University of Lagos (UNILAG) Governing Council, Dr Wale Babalakin (SAN), has called for the reformation of the education sector saying this is the only way to revamp other sectors of the economy.
Speaking at a retreat organised by the Osun State University in Ede, Osun State, Babalakin said the nation is presently at a crossroad and only the overhauling of he education sector can bring the needed emancipation.
He said, "Once we get the education system on a sound footing, it will propel the other sectors of the economy. It is very unfortunate that a country with a population of about 150 million persons has no tertiary institution that has any favourable rating in the world. Various rating agencies have placed the most outstanding Nigerian University at 800 or below in world ranking. It is acutely hurtful that even in Africa, no Nigerian university is rated amongst the top 20. More saddening is that once upon a time, Nigeria had universities that were highly rated in the world."
"I recall watching a television programme some time ago where Pro. Olu Akinkugbe, an outstanding academic and former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN) and Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) stated that at a point in time, the University College Hospital (UCH) Ibadan was rated as the fourth amongst medical institutions in the Commonwealth. The significance of this is more appreciated when we realise that commonwealth countries included the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, India, Pakistan and Malaysia. And so what happened?"
Babalakin also lamented inadequate funding of universities and called on government at all levels to henceforth stop establishing institutions that they cannot properly provide for.
According to him, "universities must be funded from public and private sources. He subsequently tasked all stakeholders to harness their intellectual and other resources to create sufficient funding for tertiary education.
"In order to make a university achieve the standard we seek, greater vitality must be introduced into the management of the institutions. Within the Nigerian laws today, majority of council members in the university are internal members.
This act of grace from the Federal Government and some other proprietors of universities must be complemented by a high degree of discipline and responsibility from the internal council members. The university administration, as a citadel of learning, must reflect truthfulness, scholarship and fairness in all its dealings. It cannot be a place where there are divisions based on ethnicity or governed by cartels.
On his part, UNIOSUN's Pro-chancellor, Yusuf Alli, said any serious university must be Information and Communication Technology (ICT)-driven because the current demand of the global community in imparting knowledge has moved greatly into the realm of information technology.