This was the crux of a convocation lecture titled “Nigerian Universities and the Challenges of National Development” delivered by Barrister Rufus Godwins, head of the civil service of Rivers State, on Tuesday, May 10, at the auditorium of Ignatius Ajuru University of Education as gathered by Myschoolnews.ng
Globally, universities are the highest institutions of tertiary education and provide learning in all branches of knowledge. They enrich the communities where they operate through teaching and research.
Universities have the most robust human resources that possess the right capacities and competencies for the growth and development of society.
As such, their place and role in development are evident in human history and are the same everywhere. This indispensable relevance makes them critical institutions for development.
Sadly, Nigerian universities as a corporate body have done relatively far less in the development of the nation when compared with their western counterparts, particularly in the areas of local inventions, discoveries, and exploration.
This was the crux of a convocation lecture titled “Nigerian Universities and the Challenges of National Development” delivered by Barrister Rufus Godwins, head of the civil service of Rivers State, on Tuesday, May 10, at the auditorium of Ignatius Ajuru University of Education.
Godwins attributed the failure of Nigerian universities to measure up with their western counterparts to several factors.
They include underfunding, declining academic standards, low global ranking, incessant strikes, politicisation of the appointment of vice-chancellors, weak institutional capacity, and flawed conception and implementation of national development goals by the political elite.
In spite of these challenges, the convocation lecturer acknowledged that Nigerian universities have made commendable contributions to human resource development and research.
He said this is attestable by the individual contributions of eminent Nigerian scholars and scientists that have earned accolades around the globe in academia, politics, and other areas of the economy.
He admitted that Nigerian universities are relatively young in relation to their western counterparts like Bologna; established in 1088, Oxford; 1096, Paris; 1150, Cambridge; 1206, and Harvard; 1636, compared with the University of Ibadan; established in 1962.
That notwithstanding, Godwins maintained that the abysmal failure of Nigeria’s past development plans since independence could be attributed to the non-inclusion of the universities as relevant stakeholders in policy formulation and implementation processes.
He recommended adequate and result oriented.