By Adesina Wahab
The Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund, in the bid to improve the global ranking of Nigerian universities, has organised a two-day workshop on the requirements for strengthening Nigerian universties for higher global ranking in Lagos.
The workshop was organised for the Vice Chancellors and management of universities in the Southern part of the country.
The one for those in the Northern part is slated for Abuja next month.
Speaking on the occasion, the Executive Secretary, Prof. Suleiman Elias Bogoro, said the workshop became necessary following the poor showing of Nigeria in global ranking of universities despite the huge support the Fund gives to them.
“In all of Africa, it is perhaps mostly the universties in South Africa and Egypt that have featured relatively well in the world ranking tables. The performance of the Nigerian universties still remains far below expectation.
“The situation is so unfortunate and worrisome that it calls for reflection and action on the part of the government, the Nigerian intelligentsia and indeed the Nigerian people. It is challenging in the sense that the success of our universties is tied to the progress and development of the nation. If the Asian countries were able to rise to such enviable place along the ranking of world universties, nothing stops Nigerian universities from making similar progress if they are so determined,” he said.
Bogoro listed factors militating against the top ranking of Nigerian universities to include poor investment in the sector, decay infrastructure, corruption, high number of mushroom universties among others.
Also speaking, the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, NUC, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, represented by the Deputy Executive Secretary, Dr Chris Mayaki, said it was unacceptable that with about 201 universties in the country, the ranking on the African continent was dominated by South Africa, Egypt, Ghana, Uganda among others.
“The theme of this workshop resonates with the efforts of the NUC to reinvent the university system in Nigeria. It is at the heart of our efforts. NUC aligns with the vision and priority of TETFund and it has the potential of transforming the university system to be globally competitive,” he said.
The Chairman of the Board of Trustees, TETFund, Alhaji Kassim Ibrahim Imam, opined that the Fund felt bad that in spite of support for the university system in the country, tangible results in terms of ranking were yet to be achieved.
“We have done a lot and we agreed that we need to do more in research, innovation and knowledge. We are also extending the same to the polytechnics and colleges of education.
“Out of the top 1000 universties in the world, only three are from Nigeria. We must improve and that has become necessary,” he said.
Imam said the world’s economy is now driven by knowledge and such could only come from a sound education system.
Speaking on what to expect from the workshop, the moderator, Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun, SAN, said they included deepening of the understanding of what is required to improve in ranking, raise consciousness of university administrators to be globally competitive and know what TETFund and NUC can support them with and enhance the ability of universties to implement identified initiatives.
Among resource persons were former VC of the University of Ibadan, Prof. Olufemi Bamiro and a former ES of NUC, Prof. Peter Okebukola.