As a kid, I heard stories about Nigerian Universities, there was a particular university that was revered in my home. My parents sang praises of this institution they said it is the best in the country and it also happens to be the first, the University of Ibadan. Automatically I became programmed and my aim was to gain admission into UI. However, I became disillusioned after gaining admission my enthusiasm and optimism dropped like the jaw of a bull dog. I came into the varsity world and disappointment slapped me in the face. The glory of the varsity system had departed from it.
University Education in Nigeria started with the establishment of the University of Ibadan in 1948, which was initially referred to as the University College of Ibadan (UCI). After the founding of UI, eyes have seen the creation of many federal and private universities. History has it that in the 1960’s, 70’s and up to mid 80’s the five premier universities- University of Ibadan, University of Nigeria Nsukka, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and University of Lagos – were centers of excellence. There were few universities and many students to be admitted, the competition was very fierce but healthy. Students were fed, and teaching and learning was more condusive and effective.
However, the story has changed and things are falling apart. Universities are plaugee with problems such as incessant strikes, lack of condusive and teaching friendly environment, hike in school fees, over population, poorly paid and trained academic staff, funding limitation, irrelevant curriculum, problems of accreditation of universities and courses. “Employers complain that graduates are poorly prepared for work. They believe that academic standards have fallen considerably over the past decade and that a University degree is no longer guarantee of communication skills or technical competence. As a result University graduates are commonly viewed as half-baked”.
Education is the life wire of any nation, it’s an investment in human capital and it determines the future of a nation. I’m not a prophet of doom but my foreshadowing is that of catastrophe, therefore, tell it not in Gath, proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon that the university educational system is on a joy ride to a state of comatose. A total overhaul should be implemented to restore and revive the varsity world in Nigeria. Nigerian students are tired of being given little and expected to produce much, though we have been dubbed ” lazy Nigerian youths” there are still some of us who believe in and want good and quality education.
The Government needs to pump more funds into education because this is the genesis of problems we have in universities. However, as it is in Nigeria, we shouldn’t wait for what the government can do for us but what we can do to help our government. During the glorious days of the university system, reputable career experts have been birthed some of these people live in developed countries contributing to their progress. We need these career experts back home in Nigeria to draw from their wealth of knowledge and experience to revive and restore the Nigerian University system. I’ll like to end with the words of Malcolm X “Education is the passport to the future for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today”.
References: Dabelen and Oni, (2000), Labour Marketers Prospects of University Graduates in Nigeria, 3.
Jake, O, (2012), University Education in Nigeria: History, Successes, Failures and the way forward. Vol 1, issue 2, 46.
Malcolm X, (1964), Speech at Founding Rally of the Organisation of Afro- American Unity.
The Christian Bible, 2 Samuel 1:20.