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Only autonomy can save Nigerian varsities – Afe Babalola

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Afe Babalola

Founder of Afe Babalola University (ABUAD), Chief Afe Babalola, yesterday, said only full autonomy for public universities could save the education sector from total collapse.

Babalola said the autonomy he has been canvassing included admission and funding research, among others, saying there could be no quality education without autonomy in these areas.

He said this, yesterday, at the Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti convocation lecture, entitled: ‘The Pearl in the Pack,’ to mark the 10th Founder’s Day and 7th convocation ceremonies of the university.

He said: “I have always advocated full autonomy for public universities. Until the Federal Government uploaded itself from the burden and allow autonomy for public universities, we will never have quality education.”

In his lecture, the immediate past Chief Medical Director, University of Ibadan College Hospital (UCH), Prof Temitope Alonge, said lack of autonomy and reported cases of sex-for-marks are major impediments militating against the growth of Nigeria’s Ivory towers.

Alonge, a Professor of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery, said making the universities to be apron strings of politicians stifled them of funds and created veritable opportunities for policy somersault, which he said are not good for the development of university education.

The university teacher added that the incessant cases of sexual harassment, leading to allotment of marks to underserved undergraduates, had also been a malaise causing serious damage to Nigerian universities.

The Medical Doctor cum lecturer added that deviation from the British directive that Nigerian universities must be autonomous institutions and free from encumbrances of the government in power and universities’ Unions, has crippled the gains the country could have made from that sector.

Alonge lauded ABUAD for awarding N269.8 m worth of scholarship within six years.

“Since our universities are greatly politicised by government and Unions, why then are we perturbed by the abysmal performances and challenges facing many federal and state-owned universities today,” Alonge asked.

He advised that researches in Nigerian universities must be tailored towards promoting industrial development to create symbiotic relationship between the industry and the academic environment.


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