NUC boss urges rebooting of tertiary institutions, rates sector low
Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof Abubakar Adamu Rasheed has posited that for the nation’s tertiary institutions to attain the goal of an ideal and just society, produce knowledgeable, creative, innovative and visionary class of citizens, it must be strategically rebooted.
Rasheed while lamenting the sorry state of the sub-sector said tertiary education system has “failed woefully in two out of the three great missions identified in the Ashby Report.”
The NUC boss who delivered the 25th convocation lecture of the Lagos State University (LASU) expressed regrets that despite the effort of General Yakubu Gowon’s ambitious and comprehensive attempt to make tertiary education an instrument of national unity, peace and social cohesion, that vision hitherto remained unattainable.
In the lecture titled, “Role of tertiary education in promoting social cohesion and peace: Opportunities and challenges for Nigeria,” Prof Rasheed said, “The critical role of tertiary education in economic development and socio-political order was at the heart of the 1960 report of the Ashby Commission on Higher Education.
The commission, showed a clear understanding of a broader role for tertiary education in a developing society, but unfortunately Nigerian tertiary education institutions flopped in that regard.
He said, “For Lord Ashby, tertiary education, apart from creating the manpower needs of an emerging independent country has the more enduring purpose of creating a national elite; engendering development; and promoting unity and nation building.
The report gave birth to the de-merging of the University College, Ibadan, from the University of London, to become an autonomous University of Ibadan, and the emergence of new Universities in Nsukka, Lagos, Ife and Zaria.
“And so if the truth must be told, our tertiary education system has failed woefully. No doubt, remarkable success has been achieved in the area of creating the manpower needed for development, but the system has failed to give birth to a national elite or serve as an instrument of unity and peace.
The elite class in Nigeria is, even, more fractious and more bigoted than ever before. Ethnicity and religious intolerance reigns supreme, almost 58 years after independence and after Ashby report.
He continued, “In summary our tertiary education needs strategic rebooting. Today our disunity has become more pronounced and rather than the language of peace and progress, our so-called educated elite are busy spewing out noises of hate, secession and war.
The challenge for the immediate future is to get our institutions back to do what they can do best, create a national elite that would facilitate the emergence of a truly united nation.”
He further urged institutions to reconnect to the fundamental goals and functions of tertiary education and develop a new vision based on curricula that are geared at solving practical socio-economic, political and technical problems.