Abuja -The development of the nation’s economy as well as that of the education sector are dependent on the strength of its universities, an official has said.

Prof. Michael Adikwu, Coordinator of the World Bank-assisted Science and Technology Education Post Basic (STEP-B), made the declaration on Sunday in Abuja while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

He observed that universities were the think-tank of any nation’s economy as well as that of its education sector because teachers that would teach at the lower levels were supposed to be produced by the universities.

“So the strength of your universities also determine the quality of your economy because that is the think-tank of the country

“If your universities are not doing well, the other sectors including the lower level schools will not be right because teachers are produced at the universities.

“Once there is a crack in that system there will be a crack below, most of the research is done there and I tell you one of the major problems we have in this country is that aspect of research.

“Education, science and technology is more of the head, for a country to move ahead you must identify human beings who can do something with nothing.’’

Adikwu said that manpower development was essential for the education sector to be developed as innovations and inventions were products of human intellect.

He stressed that countries with strong universities had advanced economically arising from numerous researches conducted in their universities.

He said that if Nigeria had strong universities where relevant researches were conducted, the institutions could have assisted in the search for an end to the country’s epileptic electricity supply situation.

Adikwu also called on research and statistics departments of all ministries as well as agencies to begin to collate data and publish them in journals.

He argued that such would give room for knowledge sharing and tapping as scholars from outside Nigeria would also want to publish their materials in the journals.

“Has any person come to tell us let’s set up a very strong research unit that will tell us: this is the first problem of NEPA; this is the second problem so exactly what are we tackling?

“Most of the news we hear are just like newspaper news, no data, under STEP-B for the past three years we have been struggling to generate data and you go there the data is either not available, if its available it’s not consumable.

“Do you know the amount of money that Nigerian universities spend on journals a year? But you have whole department with a whole director and nothing is happening. I think the entire system is sick.’’

Also speaking on the impact of STEP-B in secondary schools, Adikwu said that the project had been able to provide interactive blackboards, chemicals for chemistry laboratories and internet facilities in some secondary schools. (NAN)

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