Legal icon and Founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD) Aare Afe Babalola (SAN) has called on universities’ regulatory body, National Universities Commission (NUC), to convene an education summit to address ills plaguing the nation’s university system.
Babalola spoke at a reception dinner in honour of the immediate past Executive Secretary of NUC Prof. Julius Okojie, and his successor, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, on the university premises yesterday.
The elder statesman said the summit was necessary to enable Nigeria take its rightful place in the comity of nations by delivering quality and functional education worldwide.
As the former Pro Chancellor and chairman of council of the University of Lagos for seven years and as the founder of ABUAD since 2009, Babalola noted that his experience enabled him to identify major gaps affecting tertiary education.
The gaps, according to Babalola, include: inadequate funding, poor attitude of Nigerians to giving, weak university autonomy, quality of students to being offered admission to universities vis-à-vis shortfall in quality of teachers and curriculum development.
Others are: the need for more private participation in universities establishment and dismantling of illegal ones, non-extension of tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) to private universities, incessant strikes in public institutions and according the right of place to Science and Technology, among others.
Babalola decried a situation whereby the budget of a particular university in Europe or America for instance, is in excess of the N392,263,784,684, which Nigeria budgeted for all tertiary education institutions, including the Universal Basic Education Commission.
Given this scenario, it will be impossible for universities in Nigeria to compete favourably with any of their counterparts elsewhere, Babalola added.
On TETFUND, the legal luminary said the time had come for NUC to on behalf of private universities, advocate access to TETFund.