The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) has identified some of the problems hindering the progress and performance of Nigerian universities in the global ranking of world universities.
Speaking at a workshop for public universities on Monday, in Lagos, the Executive Secretary, TETfund, Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, said over-politisation, mediocrity, frequent strike were some of the reasons for the poor global ranking of Nigerian varsities.
The two-day workshop which had Vice-Chancellors from the Southern part of Nigeria was titled, ‘Requirement for Strengthening Nigerian Universities for Higher Global Ranking.’
Bogoro said, “Some of the problems identified as hindering the progress and performance of Nigerian Universities in the global ranking of world universities include poor investment by some arm of government in the development of universities; decaying infrastructure; corruption in the public university system. The high number of mushroom universities not worthy of status; poor attitude of Nigerian lecturers to teaching and research. Large numbers of students at the undergraduate level and limited financial and physical resources. Low research collaboration; Low performance on international linkages and collaborations and loss in quality of faculty due to Brain drain of lecturers and brilliant students to foreign institutions.”
Bogoro observed that for Nigeria to be competitive, Nigerian universities must as a matter of urgency put strong measures in place to ensure that the following are strictly observed, “All lecturers must aim to have a Doctorate of Philosophy as an essential requirement for teaching and research, Universities must develop strong democratic leadership in their administration and they must develop collaborative association with industries, foreign universities, linkages, and donor agencies in multiple capacities that increase funding for research, teaching and other essential facilities.”
The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Universities Commission, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, who was represented by his deputy, Dr Chris Mayaki, said the Commission had never ranked any university in Nigeria as reported in some news reports.
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He added that NUC aligned itself with the laudable effort of TETfund towards changing the global ranking of Nigerian Universities.
The chairman BoT, TETfund, Alhaji Kashim Ibrahim-Imam, said the performance of Nigerian Universities still remained far below expectations.
Moreover the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) has said it would soon announce 12 additional research centres of excellence to be sited on various campuses of Nigerian universities.
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TETFund’s executive secretary, Suleiman Bogoro, disclosed this in Lagos on Monday at the opening session of a two-day workshop organised as part of the agency’s efforts towards improving the performance of Nigerian ivory towers on the global ranking tables.
The workshop was coordinated by the immediate past vice-chancellor of the Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo, Olanrewaju Fagbohun.
Mr Bogoro added that the contributions of the existing 12 research centres which are dubbed centres of excellence, to the research activities in the country, informed the agency’s decision to venture into additional 12.
He, however, failed to mention when the new centres would be announced and where they would be located.
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Also, in his welcome address, Mr Bogoro frowned at the current performance of Nigerian universities on the global map, saying South African and Egyptian universities dominate the African continent in terms of better performance.
He said “to be a true giant of Africa, the story of Nigerian universities must be rewritten for good”, insisting that the development of Nigeria as a nation can only be tied to the quality of its universities.
“The Nigerian government, over the years, is committed to improving the situation. However, a lot needs to be done to put the nation on a path to growth and progress and there is no better place to begin the process than in repositioning the nation’s tertiary institutions and universities which have not fully served the purpose for which they were established,” the executive secretary added.
The chairman of the agency’s board of trustees, Kashim Ibrahim-Imam, said the choice of Mr Fagbohun to coordinate the workshop was due to his exceptional performance within his five-year tenure as the vice-chancellor of Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo.
LASU was ranked second best university in the country in the 2021 Times Higher Education (THE) world ranking and ranked among 501-600 universities globally.
Meanwhile, speaking on the goal of the workshop, Mr Fagbohun said the forum will produce guidelines for Nigerian institutions towards improving their rankings on the world tables.
According to the former vice-chancellor, “the facilitators being paraded to make inputs on the guidelines are the same individuals who have served in various capacities globally and have helped foreign institutions to do well in ranking.”
Some of the facilitators include the former executive secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Peter Okebukola; a former vice-chancellor of the University of Ibadan (UI), Olufemi Bamiro; vice-chancellors of the University of Lagos and Obafemi Awolowo University, Olwatoyin Ogundipe and Eyitope Ogunbodede, among others.