In her first public confession over the deteriorating condition of the Nigerian universities, the country’s ambassador of Rebranding campaign, Professor Dora Akunyili has stated that a visit to a typical Nigerian university today would reveal the decadence in the system.
The Minister expressed her sincere opinion while delivering the maiden convocation lecture of the University of Mkar in Gboko Local Government Area of Benue State. Strangely, as the Economic Confidential gathered, the new university which is Christian-based is operated by the Church of God in Sudan.
According to Professor Akunyili who is the Minister of Information and Communication: “the (academic) environment (today) is so dirty and most times unfit for humans to live. Crowded classrooms, inadequate hostel accommodation, non-existent library services, unfulfilled lecturers, elongation of academic calendars and sessions as a result of consistent strikes, the woes are endless.
The result, of these maladies, Prof Akunyili noted, is the craze for foreign education. Rich Nigerians today prefer sending their children to schools in Europe, America and even to neighbouring Ghana to acquire quality education. The educational sector seems to be totally in shambles.
The title of her lecture going by her pet-project on rebranding is also titled: “Rebranding Nigerian Education for National Development.” She stated that “It is common knowledge that our University system has degenerated to the extent that it needs re-burbling, resuscitation or re-branding. For Nigerian to regain its lost glory in the area of university education, the country must re-brand the entire educational sector in general and the university system in particular.”
Prof. Akunyili noted with nostalgia how it was to be an undergraduate of a Nigerian university in the 1960’s, 1970 and even the early 1980s- the years which she termed the glorious years of our educational system.
Going down memory lane, the Hon. Minister stated that even though there were many scholarships including those of government for studying abroad, many parents and their wards preferred studying at home. She said that it was great fun to be studying in a typical Nigeria university then; one could easily calculate how long he would spend in the university upon entry because strikes were non existent then.
Prof. Akunyili noted with delight how spacious classrooms were then with fewer students in each lecture room, how comfortable the hostel rooms were, with two or at most three people in a room, which is totally different from what, obtains today. There were also a well equipped Library for research and learning with knowledgeable librarians at one’s beck and call and ready to assist at every moment. She added that the foods available to the students then would only be compared to what one could find in top class hotels today. The students were well cultured, took their studies very seriously while looking forward for a glorious future upon graduation. There was uninterrupted power and water supply. Everything was simply in abundance.
Sadly, Prof. Akunyili observed those glorious years are now behind us, in contrast to what obtains today. The era of qualitative university education seem to have been lost forever in the country.