Don seeks establishment of more private varsities to tackle admission crisis
Vice chancellor, University of Medical Sciences (UNIMED), Prof. Friday has hinged the growth and development of the nation on new generation universities.
Okonofua who disclosed this at the 2nd public lecture of the institution titled, “New universities as new opportunities to reform Nigeria’s tertiary education system,” said universities must not be created for the purpose of profit-making, commercialisation or political purposes, saying about 250 applications are before the National Universities Commission (NUC) for approval.
While highlighting the challenges facing the old generation universities such as cultism, laziness, unproductivity, examination malpractices and corruption, Okonofua, said these have negative implications on the society. He said, “By contrast, universities ought to be created after careful consideration, and must be uniquely established so as to address the peculiar developmental and social challenges that the country faces.
“Indeed, establishing a new university must provide an opportunity to reform the university system, rather than being an instrument for self-propagation and self-advertisement. New universities are best placed to take the bold steps necessary to recreate the values of the Nigerian university system to focus on the purpose of tertiary education, which is to drive the social and economic development of our country.”
According to him, the public lecture is designed to share critical knowledge and information on issues relating to health, education and social development to make all stakeholders know the predicaments facing the nation.
The guest speaker, Prof Oladapo Walker said the greatest skill acquired in the university is learning which makes students to build capacity.
Walker, who is a Professor of Pharmacology and Therapeutics at Babcock University, Ilishan said, “We are training our graduates to get a job at the end of their education, we are not training them to be innovators, creative thinkers, visionary leaders and entrepreneurs.”
According to him, “The driving force behind entrepreneurial institutions is the strong belief that universities are the drivers of economic advancement and development of a country. They are therefore not seen as a pool where government pours in a lot of money and all we get are young people with degrees, but producers of young people who are equipped to be agents of change in the country.”
He also decried the admission crisis rocking the system, where only five to 12 per cent of prospective candidates get admitted into the universities.
“Forty-nine per cent of these are in the 15 to 54 age group which makes us a country of young people. We have just over a 100 universities. Therefore there is approximately one university for 1.9 million people. Every year, there are more than two million candidates vying for less than 200,000 spaces. Thus, only one in 10 qualified candidates get admitted. There is a big gap of supply with increasing demands every year.”