By Akeem Abas
Oyo (Oyo State) – A former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana, has advocated the inclusion of private universities in the country as beneficiaries under the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) initiative.
Gana spoke on Thursday while delivering the ninth Convocation Lecture of Ajayi Crowther University(ACU), Oyo.
The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) reports that Gana delivered a lecture entitled: “ Building a Culture of Academic Excellence in Nigerian Universities.’’
“Most private and public universities in the country are poorly funded. I believe the time has come to include private universities in the intervention activities of TETFUND.
“We must invest substantial resources in our universities to raise the standard of teaching and research facilities,’’ he said.
The former minister also said that there was need to transform the administration, setting and running of universities in Nigeria to achieve excellence.
He said excellence could be achieved through restoration of good governance system in universities.
“If we are to restore academic excellence in Nigerian universities, then we must very seriously resolve the serious ethical issues of lack of honesty, integrity, transparency, accountability, discipline and good conduct.
“In other words, to achieve higher levels of development, we must ensure very high levels of excellence leading to high creativity, sophisticated inventions, innovations and a galaxy of fresh ideas to propel society forward, ‘’ he said.
Gana, a former Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of University of Lagos, said education must be made attractive to bring back the array of Nigerian professors across the world.
He said Nigerians, especially university communities, should not settle for low standard, adding that all Nigerian professors outside the country needed was provision of the basics.
“We should develop an effective strategy to promote a reverse brain-drain of Nigerian experts abroad and positively attract them back home through improved conditions of service and welfare.
“I attended Aberdeen University in Scotland, an institution which was established in the 14th Century but still maintains that integrity and determination to award the best degree in the world today,’’ he said.
Gana appealed to the owners of Ajayi Crowther University to continue to do their best to improve on regular funding of the institution.
The former minister said that they must also work hard to always ensure peace and industrial harmony.
“We cannot achieve excellence in an environment of chaos and improve on linkages between our universities and industry,’’ he said. (NAN)