Why Nigerian universities can’t be among world’s best for now—Prof Garba

Prof Ibrahim Garba, ABU VC

Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Prof Ibrahim Garba has listed reasons why none of the Nigerian universities was ranked among the best in the world despite the increase in the number of universities in the country.

Garba who spoke at a press briefing organised as part of activities to mark the 40th convocation of ABU gave the reasons to include government’s poor educational policies, improper funding of the sector and the fact that the sector cannot be separated from the rot confronting the country.

According to him, “The way we are going, Nigerian universities cannot be ranked among the best universities in the world, because you cannot remove them from the mess that surrounds the nation. They are part of it. If not for the grace of God and resilience, universities in the country would have been gone,” he said.

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While comparing the level of government’s investment on education to the achievable standard of education in the country, the Vice Chancellor lamented that the ratio of students to lecturers is beyond what Nigerian universities can handle.

According to him, “by design a lecturer is supposed to teach 50 students for quality, and now you give such lecturer three to four hundred students, without increasing his remuneration, welfare or nothing.

“Not even the teaching support was increased. So, naturally, the lecturer would work at the best of his own ability, but certainly you cannot get the same quality products like someone who teaches 50 students.

“And worse still, government has continued to open more universities, as well as license private ones while the existing ones are not well funded. When ABU is having the challenge of manpower, how do you think other universities would cope in producing qualified graduates?

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“Government must be bold to either fund the universities or ask the students to pay. If you don’t do this, there will be no improvement on education. When an undergraduate is paying N20,000 as charges for the whole year, and government says it has subsidised their fees, but the reverse is the case, and the students want to get a degree that is equivalent to that of Oxford University, is this realistic?,” he rhetorically added.