It can be disheartening when you are with your peers and all of a sudden someone is like, ‘I finished from a university in Ghana’, and all attention shifts to the person because they feel his/her brain is working better than yours, and you are like, ‘seriously, I am a graduate of the University of Ibadan, my school is ranked higher than yours’.
Sincerely, how many Nigerian cares, we are talking about a school situated in a country where things presumably work. The public- literate and non-literate have lost faith in the tertiary institution because of its state, the pen cannot adequately describe the state of Nigeria’s tertiary institutions but our hearts know, whether we want to be truthful or not.
A ship on the Pacific Ocean very close to its destination, the crew suddenly discover a leak with water gushing into the ship and the captain is like, come on we are close to our destination, and it’s just two hours away we can manage. No thought of fixing it or ever fixing the ship, ‘when we get to the destination we’ll move into our ship’, says the captain.That is the state of Nigeria’s tertiary institution now, we are like we’ll build a new one when one is obviously wrecking. Six new private universities in 2017 alone! Is having a new university the way forward, is privatizing the way forward or bringing exuberant fee to load a wrecking ship the way forward? Truthfully I know the answers still lie in our heart, just dig it out.
In 1932, our colonial masters saw the need for advanced education and they built us Yaba Higher College, Nigerians complained that the white was giving substandard education because with the degree one could only be a junior staff. The colonial masters considered this and built us University College, Ibadan, which was affiliated to the University of London (currently ranked among top 15 in the world), now the University of Ibadan in 1948, so Nigerians could have a degree that would earn them higher ranking jobs.
We gained our independence and took charge of these schools, then Nigeria made good oil money in the seventies, and there was an expansion of tertiary education to every subregion of Nigeria. Nigeria currently has 158 universities, 104 polytechnics and 82 colleges of education. Let’s not get bored with history, facts and figures; the main bone of contention is the current state of all these institutions.
Imagine a worn out pair of rubber slipper with an obvious hind circular depression communicating with the earth beneath, but the individual still keeps dragging it along. THAT is the state of tertiary institutions in my country. While some people with shallow sights, see the ‘non-existing’ good part of the pair of slippers, some of us who are four-eyed cannot help but notice with utmost antipathy. It is quite amazing how we look at the same thing and see a different thing. At one end of the line, some of us are receiving signals for a change but are incapacitated, while at the other end the signal is been cut off.
The best university in Nigeria is ranked 1099, and the next is ranked after 2000 in the world. Words are not sufficient to explain how these figures were arrived at, all one has to do is visit a Nigerian university and compare with other universities ranked within top 500, then one will understand why we are currently in that position. The University of Ibadan was once an affiliation of the University College of London, the latter is now ranked among the top 15 universities in the world and well, we know where the former is.
According to the United Nations, 27% of a country budget should go into the educational sector, but in Nigeria, just 7.04% is allotted to education this year (2018) of which basic education is a part of. This is a country that runs subsidized tertiary education, one that leaders are robbing us of millions, a country that money is diverted to things beyond the human eyes. These budgets are just figures on paper because every other sector aside education is in a similar state.
Non-Nigerians saw the need to upgrade the system of education because Nigerians were dissatisfied, and met it. Now, our Nigerian leaders have decided to treat their fellow citizens with disregard and disrespect. Our very own universities have become an abomination for their children, and the halls of residence, a plaque to be treated with disdain. But, they would rather hover around with their helicopter to view from the ‘heavenlies’.
Before we talk about a way forward, based on what I can see, Nigerians need to be trained on human empathy and emotional intelligence, leaders and followers alike. We are one Nigeria and we will build our nation together. Arise O compatriots, enough is enough.
Written by Adesanya Temilade, a volunteer with EiE Nigeria.
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