By Emmanuel Edukugho
PROFESSOR Babs Aliyu Fafunwa, former Minister of Education seemed not satisfied with the state of Nigerian education as standard and quality keep falling.
Access to education, especially at tertiary levels has become so limited that parents now send their children to universities in Ghana, Benin Republic, Togo an other West African countries.
Poor funding, decay of infrastructure, lack of conducive learning and teaching environments, absence of good, well-stocked libraries, inadeanate online computer-driven libraries, laboratories without equipment, poor academic staffing, irrelevant curriculum have all combined to lower the standard of education in the country.
At an event in the University of Lagos in which the International School, University of Lagos, ISL, held its graduation and valedictory ceremony. Vanguard Education Weekly, caught up with Prof Fafunwa, who briefly bared his mind on the travails of our education system.
He believes that Nigeriaâ€™s education system should be reviewed so as to cope with the 21st Century challenges.
As at now, no Nigerian university is ranked among the first 1000 in the world. In previous years tertiary institutions like the University of Ibadan, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, University of Lagos, were globally acclaimed. But not so today.
Excerpts of the brief interview with Prof. Fafunwa who has been on retirement.
How have you been coping professionally after these long years of retirement?
I have been busy, if you ask my wife she will tell you. My wife says Iâ€™ve been busier than ever. Not a dull moment ever since I went into retirement.
What is your impression about the current state of our education system?
It needs review. In my own opinion there should be a turn around of the system. My understanding is that the system should not be stagnant, but always having possibility of improvement.
If you are to advise the new minister of education, what do you want her to do?
She should set up a commission to review the system. Two things must first be looked into. These are discipline and anti-corruption which should be enthroned in the system and imbibed by all the people managing the affairs of education in the country.
Discipline and anti-corruption attitude are needed urgently at all levels of our educational system.â€”from primary, secondary and tertiary.
There had been clamour by the House of Representatives which passed a motion to scrap the Post-UTME. If they are saying that post-JAMB should be scrapped, what do they want to put in its place?
We can streamline JAMB for more effectiveness. That is an issue. But if they donâ€™t want post-JAMB, then what do they suggest in its stead? They are not coming up with alternative.
There is no alternative. If you say something is not good, what do you want as alternative? Thatâ€™s the question. I think that until there is alternative, post-JAMB test should remain.