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Doctrines & Morals
 
 
Civic Rights …

EDUCATION IN SHAMBLES

Education remains, till date, the foundation of civilization-it has been so throughout the ages from Mesopotamia through the Euphrates to the new world. An American president opined that to destroy a country, one needs no bomb, all that is required is destroy its education. I have, once, written on the subject of decadence in our education, with particular reference to our tertiary institutions, the so-called ivory towers that are fast becoming towers of ignominy. Bill Gate, co-chairman of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said, while visiting Nigeria, on his views about governance in Nigeria vis-à-vis the state of our education:

The Nigerian government's economic recovery and growth plan identify investing in our people as one of three strategic objectives. But the execution priorities don't fully reflect people's needs, prioritizing physical capital over human capital." "People without roads, ports, and factories can't flourish and roads, ports and factories without skilled workers to build and manage them can't sustain an economy

Radical lawyer, Femi Falana, has this to say, in recent edition of the Punch newspapers: During recent tracking of the huge public funds that have been earmarked for funding education and other social services, I confirmed that several billions of naira in the TETFUND account are lying fallow at the vault of the Central Bank of Nigeria due to the failure of the management of tertiary institutions to access the intervention fund

Columnists Ayo Olukotun and Niyi Akinaso have express concerns over the state of affairs, both of them pointing accusing fingers at TETFUND, for denying  the universities access to those funds. While not disputing their claims, I wish to add, also, that the university managements can't be totally exonerated from the chaos attending to funding of education, and research, at the tertiary level-the little part of those funds released to the universities are not being used for executing projects that most drive the institutional mandates. Some of the universities, today, have re-ordered their priorities by re-writing their mandates, on account of the fact that managements of those institutions are in the hands of people who,  have no business being there.  They brought the universities into the state of rot, in which today, they can barely stand among other African universities, let alone in the world. If the all-powerful vice-chancellor is not, unduly, accelerating the promotion of his wife and cronies, in violation of established processes, he is inviting his non-staff children and relatives to come, through the back door, of temporary appointments, to utilize funds intended for the training of academic manpower to strengthen the institutions, thus enabling them fulfil their mandates and compare, favourably, with their contemporaries, anywhere.  Research equipment are not purchased while contracts are awarded for the purchase of cars; construction of structurally-deficient and most unsafe buildings, without water and other items that have nothing to do with the university mandates.   Power and Internet services are too erratic to support scholarship, in this information age. Such universities are overcrowded with staff whose qualifications are no more than being relations of the vice chancellor or his/her benefactors, recruited through the temporary-appointment window, a fact that brought discipline to an all-time low as most of them are unruly. Whosoever, among the staff, that has the courage to raise a voice of dissent is frustrated through undue stagnation, including not sending his/her papers for external assessors, refusing to release external assessors' reports if favourable to him/her or sending his/her assessment papers to, only, men who would do VC's bidding. 

The universities, ordinarily, centers of research and scholarship have, thus, today, become an extension of the rotten political structure, called civil-service. It behooves society and its leaders to ensure that education does not collapse, completely - government needs to move to sanitize the industry by instilling the much needed discipline. The activities of the universities and the funding agencies, TETFUND and NEEDS ASSESMENTS vis-à-vis the vice chancellors need to be brought under scrutiny.

 

 


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