A renowned legal luminary, Mall Yusuf Olaolu Ali SAN, has called on Governments to allocate more funds to the universities day-to-day operations if it must meet up with global best practices.
Mall. Ali made this call while delivering the 36 Convocation Lecture of the University of Ilorin, themed ‘Tertiary Education and the Future of Nigeria’ held at the University Main Auditorium on Friday.
Mall. Ail emphasized that efforts should be made by the governments to abide by the 26% annual budgetary allocation prescribed for the educational sector by UNESCO, which will go a long way to change the face of education in the country.
He added that the universities should also seek alternative sources of revenue generation to augment what the government allocates to them.
“Apart from the release of fund, there is the dire need for an effective monitoring of the management of funds presently being allocated to the sector, as efforts should be intensified to improve on what is currently being allocated to the system.
“As a means of ensuring effective management of funds, it has been suggested that reliable and credible accounting system should be established in each Nigerian university to guarantee accountability, honesty and transparency.”
In his Lecture, Ali said that autonomy in the universities should be enhanced to help reduce the extent of political interference in the affairs of these varsities, most especially in the appointment/selection of key principal officers.
Ali said further that there is an urgent need to restore the integrity of higher educational, institutions in terms of work ethics and morality, transparency, productivity, democratization and total commitment to the ideals of the ivory tower.
“The Federal and State Governments should provide leadership in upholding the uniqueness of our higher institutions, while the university staff unions and the student unions should work in partnership with the university leadership to enthrone a new regime of stability, revitalization and growth in all our institutions”.
He emphasized that if Nigeria wants its universities to be counted among world class universities, the infrastructure base of the system needs to be improved upon.
“The present situation calls for an urgent need for our governments to make available enough funds for the rehabilitation of existing facilities.
“Governments should intensify efforts in providing more physical facilities in the universities. Besides, corporate bodies, philanthropists and alumni associations should also assist in the provision of these facilities to aid effective teaching-learning activities in order to achieve the academic goals of university education for national development.
“There is need for a serious expansion of physical facilities and equipment to meet the increasing student population. Also important is the need to take serious look at maintenance culture, which is lacking in an average Nigerian, as this will go a long way to reduce the rate of decay of the existing facilities. Not only that, such appropriated sums must be released for the purpose they are meant for.”
The Lecture said that to improve the quality of our graduates, there is the need to encourage the lecturers to intensify their academic research. This he said will advance the quality of knowledge being imparted on the students, which will in turn improve the quality of the graduates been sent into the labour market.
He said further that funds voted for academic research should be made available to the institutions and this should be disbursed on merit basis to ensure that it does not go to waste on undeserving ‘scholars’.
The Convocation Lecturer had earlier identified inadequate funding, professionalization of unionism, Government interference, cultism and anti-social behaviours, outmoded curricular, lack of the culture of scholarship, corruption and faulty appointment process of principal officers among others, have however unable to make the University meet up to expectation education system.