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Education, knowledge greater investment than oil, says Falola


Professor Toyin Falola. PHOTO: UT College of Liberal Arts

Eminent scholar, Prof Toyin Falola has identified public private partnership as the only alternative to revamping the nation’s education sector, which is in doldrums.

Prof Falola who is the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities, at the University of Austin, Texas said government, stakeholders and private sector must come to the realisation that education and knowledge are greater investment than oil.

Falola who was guest lecturer at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), School of Post Graduate Studies yearly lecture said institutions must create a knowledge based-economy.

The university teacher in his lecture titled, “‘Distinguishment: The values and management of endowment to universities,” said while the Federal Government is expected to pump more money into education, private sector must equally contribute its quota to the development of the sector.


He said: “Whether we like it or not, this oil will end. So we need to provide for a post oil knowledge economy. We are to see knowledge as economy itself. We cannot but begin to move very rapidly to the creation of this knowledge.

“There must be a partnership in which companies would contribute to funding universities. They are really doing that through Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund). We also have to appeal to internal management that they have to be more accountable. Some people would argue that some institutions are also mismanaging their funds.”

The lecture presented multiple ways through which a university can benefit by having endowed chair holders among its faculty.

“Universities should use intellectual skills to transform the space. Expand intellectual space and create avenue to recruit undergraduate students. Endowed professorships have cost implications, as the university has to look for donors to fund them. The professor with the endowment is at once a primus inter pares among fellow senior professors who have mediatory power, but he or she is also an autocephalous figure, one who is expected to have greater talents, superior intellectual strength, elegance of presentation, and lucidity of language” he said.

Falola further said being distinguished without the criteria of distinction is a no qualification for endowed chairs. He stated varied and diversified contributions of select endowed professors to scholarship and public conversations, while commenting on the relevance of the scholarship generated by previous chair holders, and made a case that many such chair holders are needed to produce transformative knowledge economies.

He also added that universities have to run well before endowed chairs can function and produce significant results.

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Prof. Toyin FalolaUNILAG
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