The Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan (UI), Prof Idowu Olayinka has expressed regret that only about 3,000 candidates out of the over 29,000 who scored 200 and above in the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) and chose the premier university, would be offered admission into the University.
The Vice Chancellor lamented that poor funding, infrastructure deficit, student-lecturer ratio and limitation of Hostel accommodation would not allow the University go beyond its present carrying capacity.
UTME Candidates who chose the university have been anxious to hear the admission guidelines from the premier university since the ban on post-UTME examination, an examination which the Vice Chancellor believes had improved the quality of graduates and reduced those asked to withdraw from the University.
While speaking on the topic “Challenges of Building a World Class University” at the 68th Interdisciplinary Research Discourse of the Postgraduate school under the Deanship of Professor Adeyinka Aderinto, Professor Olayinka opined that Nigeria’s government must decide if it wants her universities to be globally competitive or not, and that the only way Nigerian universities can compete with their counterparts in the other nations is if the government adequately funds research and fixes the infrastructural deficits bedeviling them. According to the Vice-Chancellor:
The professor of Geology listed inadequate teaching and research facilities, the problem of attracting and retaining top-class faculty, poor funding, overstretched infrastructure, the inconsistent policy of education, inadequate suitable staff, and government’s attitude to education as factors affecting the global competitiveness of the university.
“Funding is needed to make UI a world class university. A globally competitive university is that which can boast of top-class scholars with sound funding of research because without research, a university is a glorified secondary school. Our goal is to train new generations of leaders but at present, we have challenges with achieving this. The mark of a truly world class institution is measured by what her graduates do after leaving the institution.
“Oxford will boast that they have produced many Prime Ministers. Harvard will say the same on world leaders. UI graduates too are doing well all over Nigeria, but we must do more so that our graduates can be blessing to Nigeria and the global community. Nigerian leaders should go beyond feeling bad at the ranking of our universities. If UI is presently ranked 19 in Africa and the top 4 varsities are in South Africa, then Nigeria’s government should understudy what they do in south Africa for their universities including research grants and learning environment and infrastructure. We cannot be globally competitive without electricity. We will be more productive if power is available. We should be playing a leading role in research and innovation, we should be contributing to local and regional economies and that should be driving our global competitiveness.”
In his speech, Chairman of the occasion and former Vice Chancellor, Prof Bankole Oyediran noted that universities are the powerhouse of knowledge designed to contribute to the development and planning through the production of innovative works, groundbreaking research, and high-quality personnel.
However, he noted that while it is obvious that universities and academics can play vital roles in development, most African countries including Nigeria only pay lip service to the declaration that universities play a major role in national development.
The former Vice Chancellor of the institution then noted that a world class university, which by implication is research active can play a vital role in regional economy and development.