By Chinyere Nwachukwu
Lagos – In spite of the proliferation of universities in the country national development goals have not been met, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), University of Lagos Chapter, has said.
The ASUU Chairman, Dr Dele Ashiru, noted that with more universities across the country the system had not produced the expected results.
“Every now and then we see new universities springing up without really trying to find out what impact the existing ones have made in the political, social and economic development of the country.
“I dare say that the unbridled proliferation of universities in the country is, in fact, one of the reasons why the system is not producing functional result that it should produce.
“Most of the universities do not even have personnel, especially lecturers to teach let alone the requisite infrastructure that will enable a well-rounded university education,” he told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday.
Ashiru said there was an urgent need for existing universities, whether public or private to be well-equipped to address the challenges of the country.
The unionist, who is of the Department of Political Science, said proliferation of universities was not the solution to creating access to tertiary education and other challenges facing the system.
He said rather than establishing more universities the existing ones should be strengthened and equipped to make them become more relevant to national development.
According to him, concerted efforts must be made to create an enabling, good learning environment that will attract and retain the right scholars, including foreign ones to the system.
Ashiru said: “We do not want politicians or people who have failed in the banking sector and cannot find employment in the industry, who will now use the system as a last resort.
“Teaching in the university is a calling and unless you are called, you cannot make impact. It is not for all-comers.
“The university is equally not a place where people can come in and do politics like it is being witnessed in most campuses in the country.”
The ASUU boss described as worrisome the private universities that were established to make profits to be lobbying the National Assembly to amend the TETfund Act in a bid to get federal government funding.
Ashiru urged the universities’ regulatory body — the National Universities Commission (NUC) — to set more stringent conditions for the establishment of new universities and also ensure that the existing ones met such conditions.