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Ex Minister, VC, others call for adequate funding of education

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By Elizabeth Uwandu

UNILAG, researchers,

IF Nigeria would not be left behind in the Fourth Industrial Revolution already shaping things globally, it must make more investment in the education sector.

This was the notion of the former Minister of Justice and Attorney- General of the Federation, Chief Bayo Ojo, SAN, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, UNILAG, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, among others at the Chief Arthur Mbanefo Lecture Series, recently organised at the Arthur Mbanefo Digital Research Center, UNILAG, Akoka-Lagos.

The maiden lecture themed: Realities of University Education in Nigeria: Are we ready for the 4th industrial revolution?, had the presence of Odu of Onitsha, Chief Arthur Mbanefo, a former pro-chancellor of several universities including UNILAG; and CEO, Agusto and Co, Mr. Bode Agusto, as guest speaker, among other dignitaries.

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In his address, Prof. Ogundipe noted that the government alone cannot fund university education in Nigeria. He said: “Those who want government to provide high quality, free university education should get real. Population growth is too high; with five million addition per year, and government revenues are too low; with N50, 000 per person, per year.

“Historically, universities in Nigeria have been over reliant on the government for funding. This worked when the demand for quality education was in thousands. Now that it is in millions, this funding model is unlikely to deliver value to all stakeholders.”

Giving statistics of realities of educational demands in Nigeria, the guest lecturer, Agusto said in Nigeria, students should undertake their undergraduate studies between the ages of 19 and 22. “According to populationpyramid.net, in this age bracket, Nigeria had 9.4 million people in year 2000. Currently, she has 12.6 million and she will have 25.5 million in 2040.

“About 3.15 million people will turn 19 years this year, approximately 2.0 million or 63 per cent of them will apply to universities and only 0.5 million or 16 per cent of those who turned 19 will be successful. The ‘4th Industrial Revolution’ combines digital, computing power, biology, and bio-chemistry to solve problems for humans.”

It is about using machine learning, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, black chain, robotics and the internet of things to scale and customised products and services to the needs of consumers.”

On his part, Chief Ojo admonished the National Universities Commission, NUC   to take up the challenge of developing a new curriculum that would pay attention to entrepreneurial skills in students, “which will ultimately impact greatly on efforts to generate employment and reduce the high rate of poverty in the country.”

While expressing gratitude to the university management, Chief Mbanefo reiterated that, “until we begin to see educational funding as every man’s business and not just the government, we can’t compete in the 4th Industrial Revolution.”

 

 

 

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