Why government must fund research in our institutions, by ex-VC Odugbemi
A Former vice chancellor, University of Lagos (UNILAG), Prof Tolu Odugbemi, has restated call for the funding of research in our tertiary institutions saying this is imperative to positively impact the society.
Odugbemi said research should be seen as part of finding solutions to real life challenges through reliable methods.The erudite scholar who stated this while delivering the institution’s 2017/2018 Annual Postgraduate Lecture titled ‘Teamwork and divine intervention: Reminiscences on research activities in a developing country setting, Nigeria,” said universities must be properly funded to enable institutions have solid infrastructure that would attract and retain staff to produce meaningful research findings.
The former vice chancellor lamented that education is in a dysfunctional state and has failed to address the challenges of misery and poverty, adding that modernisation; civilisation, civics and technology must be urgently introduced and applied in all our institutions.
“We should come together to build a modern and civilised nation, solve problems and challenges created by ethnicity, religion, greed and corruption in our lands.” He said.He added that government must make Nigerian universities universal and of high standards, which will enable them solve societal problems through excellent research output.
He stated that research facilities in institutions should be modern while research ideas should be clear, relevant and adaptable to societal needs.Odugbemi also advocated improved welfare package for workers pointing out that when staff are not properly motivated, their attitude to work hinders productivity.
“Many teachers in various parts of the country are being owed several months of salaries. With this, chances are slim that they will carry out their work with the required enthusiasm for the benefit of students.
“Research funding especially at tertiary education level is vital for good output that will be relevant to societal needs and it is an open secret that all government institutions are underfunded. The activities of staff unions have led to incessant strikes in our institutions and this has continued to hamper the quality of education and ultimately impacting negatively on the quality of graduates we produce.” he said.
Odugbemi said there is an urgent need for re-orientation of the various host communities to understand that universities located in their environs will positively influence them through outstanding research output, thus enhancing the outlook of such communities.He implored government to give priority attention to funding of education and ensure the implementation of a recruitment process that allows for the engagement of qualified teachers.
Besides, the former vice chancellor said federal universities should be run outside the public service rules but be controlled with the guidelines of the National Universities Commission (NUC).
At the event, three postgraduate students received the sum of N250, 000 each as part of the institution’s trust fund to support their research work.The vice chancellor, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe said the postgraduate trust fund is aimed at assisting indigent doctoral students.He said, “The trust fund was launched two years ago and three doctoral students have benefitted after duly screened by the committee in charge.