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Oloja: Nigeria Does Not Need Another University

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    ...calls for internationalisation of higher education.

    Contrary to the agitation of communities seeking the establishment of Universities, the Managing Director of The Guardian newspaper, Mr. Martins Oloja has warned against the proliferation of universities in the country.

    The veteran journalist, however, argued that the focus should be on improving the existing institutions, saying the quality of education should take precedence over quantity.

    In the convocation lecture of Ondo State-owned Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Oloja maintained that the proliferation of universities without corresponding improvements in educational standards only compounds the situation at hand.

    Also, he lamented the prevalence of complacency over competence within the academic system, emphasising the need for a shift in the reward system.

    In his lecture titled “Internationalisation of University Education for Global Relevance: Experiences, Barriers, and Prospects,” Oloja described Nigeria’s education system as a ticking time bomb due to poor policies, inadequate investment, and a lack of commitment on the part of policymakers.

    According to him, there is an urgent need for reform, advocating for the adoption of the Singaporean model and a holistic approach to address the country’s educational challenges.

    While calling for the internationalisation of higher education in Nigeria, he emphasised the need for universities to seek collaborations and partnerships with reputable international institutions to enhance the quality of education and promote global competitiveness.

    His words “The warning is germane now because the state of education anywhere is a combination of many factors, including the quantum of resources committed to the educational sector and the quality of human capital assigned to manage the value chain.

    “So before it is too late, we need to tell our leaders to invest robustly in education. Let’s not be telling them to fund education, which they do haphazardly and quite often; it turns out to be like what Shakespeare calls a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    “Nigeria has a long history of education. The country’s educational system has undergone a transition from the traditional system where mature men instructed the youths in personal, good citizenship, and community responsibilities to the formal Western education brought by the missionaries in the mid-nineteenth century.

    “Even before the 1960s, schools were properly administered and discipline was enforced. The quality of graduates was high, and the certificates awarded by the schools were equal to those awarded by schools in the West. However, things went sour and education was neglected in the late 1980s, and the quality of graduates has since become unreliable.

    “This same degeneration has spread tentacles to the economy, governance, science and technology, medicine, religion, individual responsibility, and finally Nigeria’s global competitiveness. Education quality drives global competitiveness.

    “Our leaders often appreciate orators and public speakers when they regale them with how Lee Kuan Yew turned one city-state into a significant nation. I would like to encourage our leaders to spare a weekend to study the role of quality not just in the education of Yew but also in the lives of Singaporeans.

    “If they study the classics of the iconic Yew, they will see how education quality, consciously funded as a fundamental objective of state policy, is the weapon the great leader used in developing his four million people into global citizens, significant entrepreneurs, and great thinkers.

    “Here is the conclusion of the whole matter, we need to wake up from lamentation syndrome and get our Visitors to the universities and our Adekunle Ajasin University) to visit in peacetime when there is no convocation so that we can share information with them on how to internalise good policies and robust investment to get Universe back to the University so that we can about internationalisation and international cooperation so that we can be future-ready, future relevant and future assured.”

    Oloja expressed the belief that professors and educators, who play a crucial role in shaping the minds of future generations, deserve greater recognition and remuneration for their contributions.

    The Vice-Chancellor of the Institution, Prof. Olugbenga Ige, in his remark said in today’s interconnected world, where knowledge knows no borders, the role of universities in preparing students to navigate a diverse and complex global environment is paramount.


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