By Gbenga Olarinoye & Josephine Agbonkhese
Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State, yesterday, blamed the current economic challenges facing the country on the misguided desire of universities in the country to provide education in all fields, rather than pursue economic relevance by focusing on their specific areas of strength.
The governor who spoke at the commissioning of Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo’s Kings University in Ode-Omu, Osun State, argued that this was taking a toll on national growth and development with the continuous influx of job-seekers, rather than broad-minded entrepreneurs and innovators, into the society which he lamented could no longer provide jobs like it did in the 80s.
“Does your society need all the disciplines? The answer is ‘No’. Even if it does, it can be best served when universities specialise in specific areas of learning to help the society. Nigeria no longer needs generalist universities any more but universities that will carve a niche for themselves in specific areas of societal needs.
Universities should therefore begin to equip students with capacities to enable them engage these areas of needs,” Aregbesola said.
Speaking at the event which witnessed the matriculation of 120 students admitted on scholarship into the university, as well as his convocation as Chancellor of the university, Ashimolowo decried that African leaders were in dire need of management skills, a problem which he identified as a focus of the university.
“When I look around Africa, my heart is broken because I see resources without good managers; with all due respect to many of our state governors. They collect money from the central government and spend 70% on paying salaries; that is bad business. They should find a way to invest this money so that it is the residual from the business that is used to take care of salaries. Otherwise, how will you build infrastructures for the future?” Ashimolowo lamented.