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Fix existing varsities and stop approving new ones, ex-ASUU president tells FG

Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, a former President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has called on the federal government to stop approving new universities.

According to Ogunyemi, the government should instead fix existing ones to attain global standard and deliver quality education to the people.

This call was made by Ogunyemi while speaking at a national symposium and retirement felicitation of a former President of the Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU), Sam Akindele, yesterday in Abuja.

The former ASUU president, who decried the decay in the country’s Education sector, said: “Nigeria doesn’t need new universities. The structures we are operating, how well are they positioned to deliver? We are talking of establishing more institutions, whereas they (governments) are not catering for the existing ones. Who is deceiving who?

“Go to the National Assembly. You can be sure they have nothing less than 30 Bills proposing new colleges of education; not less than 50 Bills proposing new universities, polytechnics and so on. Is that what we need?

“How well are the existing institutions delivering? It means those who are there are not connected with the system.

“In 2012, we advocated for the NEEDS Assessment of public universities in Nigeria. What we came up with the report was scandalous. The N1.3 trillion that we proposed to fix our universities in six years is real.

“I visited first generation universities where we saw them using kerosene stoves in place of fossil burners, and they were fetching water in buckets in a 21st century laboratory. What quality education are we proposing?”

Akindele called for improved packages for Nigerian teachers to attract the best brains to the profession.

“When the teaching profession is attractive, you attract the best of brains. And when you attract such brains, you will improve all the other professions in Nigeria. But if teachers are bad; if they have dull brains; then you don’t expect them to dish out anything that is first-class.

“We must find a way of attracting the best brains into education in the country,” the former COEASU president said.

Also, COEASU President, Dr. Smart Olugbeko, berated the political class for politicising the Education sector.

He said: “Our politicians have politicised education to the extent that education has been relegated to the background, that we experience different types of crises in the sector as a result of the insensitivity of the leaders to educational issues.

“This is what has brought our educational system to the level at which everybody is not proud of it.”

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