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‘Nigeria’s education system, a reflection of larger society’

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To address the nation’s deplorable educational system, scholars have insisted that the government must be ready to take radical decisions.

Describing the present university system as a reflection of the wider Nigerian society, seasoned scholar, Prof John Obafunwa said all hands must be on deck to tackle the rot in the sector.

He warned that a situation where lecturers cannot speak fluently and parents aid their wards to cheat in examinations calls for concern.

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He said, “I believe that we have to be serious as a nation and take certain radical decisions to cleanse the system. To a large extent, I can say that the university is a reflection of the wider Nigerian society. Once the system is bad, the quality of education being dished out to the students will definitely fall short. When you have poor quality students who have been admitted into the system and cannot speak good English and we have lecturers who are not fluent in the language, then, there is a big problem.”

The former vice-chancellor of Lagos State University (LASU) added, “the unfortunate thing about the sector is that education in Nigeria is not as it is in other societies. There are problems caused by students themselves, parents and staff; both teaching and non-teaching as well as the superintending bodies. There is a lot of mediocrity. Even parents pay people to help their children with their examinations. We have caught parents arranging surrogates to help their children with their exams, husbands helping their wives. On one occasion, we were about handing the culprits to the police when the parents brought their lawyers who in turn questioned the reason for their arrest. I was baffled by the statement. “

He also deplored the activities of some academics and non-academic staff, saying some are in the system for altruistic reasons, which is detrimental to the growth of the sector.

“There are those who are there to do the right thing so as to complement the system; those who believe in hard work, teaching and research. There are also those who are not good. They are not real academics; only got into the system, seeking jobs and so are never fully involved. These sets of people will hide under unions to seek advancement.”

Obafunwa, who decried the anomalies in the system, noted that in developed societies, academics are weighed on how much value they have impacted in their students and how much they have added to the university.

“I spent a year in the United States, and there were no unions. In fact, as a lecturer, you need to be punctual and there are no surrogates lecturers. A lot of things are contracted out. All these academics that keep creating so much overhead and syphoning funds meant for the university are not in the system in other societies. There are things peculiar to both the federal and state university systems. I believe that we have to be serious as a nation and take certain radical decisions to cleanse the system. To a large extent, I can say that the university is a reflection of the wider Nigerian society,” Obafunwa added.

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