“I will like to implore Chief Babalola to please for posterity sake expand the scope of the topic and publish the series as a book. It will go a long way to guide or policy makers on how to improve the standard of education in Nigeria” – Adewuyi Adegbite
“It has been nice moment to read your article. I do
not feel recovered (as if is illness) when I miss a week, until I have gone through” – Olajide Adewale Esq
RE: COST AND FUNDING OF UNIVERSITY EDUCATION
The above is the topic of Thursday, November 21 article of the legal luminary, Chief Afe Babalola in the Nigerian Tribune of that date Chief Babalola has been devoting is column in the Nigerian Tribune since September to the problem militating against educational development in Nigeria. Not only that, he has proffered solutions to the myriads of problems. Specifically, he had discussed about outdated curriculum, parents, teachers, strike, and time utilization etc. The discourse thus far has been an eye opener on the factors that are responsible for decline in educational standard in this country.
There is no doubt that Chief has hit the nail on the head as far as the falling standard of education in Nigeria is concerned and the presentation was borne out of experience acquired over the years and painstaking research by the legal icon.
As a matter of facts, my respect for the Chief has increased greatly because with his age which is over 80, he could still be striving for the betterment of his compatriots, when those saddled with the educational advancement in Nigeria at various levels, hardly bothered themselves about the issue and could not realize the consequences of the dwindling educational standard on the future of this nation, talk less of finding solution to it.
I will like to implore Chief Babalola to please for posterity sake expand the scope of the topic and publish the series as a book. It will go a long way to guide or policy makers on how to improve the standard of education in Nigeria.
Nevertheless, while commending Chief Babalola for a well done job, I will like to disagree with him over his position on the funding of education during the military rule and its consequences on our educational sector as enumerated in the November 21, 2013 article.
Quoting from the said article “before the advent of civil rule in 1999, the education sector was under the military in a near total state of ruination. The military waged war on learning” Babalola gave the reason for his position as “while huge funds were budgeted for defence… the education sector got what could be termed a left over. It was as if the military had a mandate to return Nigeria to the Stone Age”. Consequences of the above according to the legal icon are “poor, inadequate and dilapidated infrastructure on our campuses, unpaid pensions and gratuity of retired university people, poor remuneration of staff which led to the exodus of our most brilliant minds to foreign countries, shortage of high skilled manpower for the sustenance of vibrant universities, poor hostel and accommodation facilities, poorly equipped university library and laboratories, poor electricity supply to offices, lecture rooms, laboratories, student hostels and staff quarters and irregular and inadequate water supply”.
I am not a military apologist and not intend to defend the military governments as there are enough military stalwarts to defend their actions. However, my motive is to try to put the record straight as far as the position of Chief Babalola that military nearly turned education in Nigeria back to the Stone Age is concerned. Secondly, I intend to use my experience as an undergraduate at the period to debunk some of the points stated as consequences of inadequate funding of educational sector by the military government.
Before doing this however, I will like to state that the lion share allotted defense in Nigeria budgets during the military is understandable in view of Nigeria’s role in international peace keeping, particularly in west Africa sub-region. And this is one of the reasons why Nigeria is respected by international community and its recent election as a non permanent member of the Security Council was partly due to the above factor. Equally, to say that education was starved is untenable; this is because most of the second generation universities in Nigeria were established during the military regimes and remain vibrant today due to the solid foundation laid then, not to talk about other tertiary institutions established then. Also, the 6-3-3-4 system in vogue in our secondary school today was the brain child of the military regime.
I was a student of the University of Ilorin then and I can say to the best of my knowledge that not all the points enumerated as the consequences of the poor funding of education by the military are tenable at the University of Ilorin. I was a student from 1990 to1995 which is the tail end of military rule. Although, I was at the mini campus which was originally Government Technical College, therefore that could not be used to judge facilities in the university. However the main campus was being developed and facilities including those mentioned by Chief Afe Babalola are fair and could not be dilapidated. As a matter of fact, the grievances of ASUU then upon, which they went on strike in 1992 and 1995, were on university autonomy and increment in salary and not the points raised by Chief Babalola.
One factor that led to inadequate infrastructure and perhaps, most of the consequences mentioned in the article may be the liberalization and deregulation of the university admission and coupled with the establishment of examination bodies like NECO, NABTEB which made success in schools certificate easy and the corruption in JAMB which led to the selling of JAMB question papers and award of fictitious marks to candidates and establishment of such programmes like pre degree sciences and various part time studies. The combination of the above led to population explosion in the universities, which in turn led to inadequate facilities for the expended population and these, did not happen in the military era. Summarily, I am not saying that the position of Chief Babalola is wrong in its entirety, no. This is because the military regimes have their shares of the blame for the falling of educational standard in Nigeria. However, the blame for the problems bedeviling our education today should be heaped on our civilian governments because fourteen years is enough to right whatever wrong that military had done on our educational advancement, military rule being an aberration.
Your rich contribution is noted with thanks but without prejudice to contrary opinion in the near future.
FUNDING OF EDUCATION
Baba, I just finished reading your write up on the above, anybody who has visited ABUAD or followed your contributions to our country’s educational sector will be grateful to God for blessing our nation and generation with such a selfless , humane, caring and generous icon of excellence like Baba Afe, on my own I only wished you are at least 40 years younger, I was in ABUAD, I met yeye Afe, I spoke with workers, I saw you at work and walked away sober, with my faith boosted but with a consolation that an Ekiti man has accomplished these laudable feat. I couldn’t but join the army of admirers and prayer warriors that the Lord Jesus Christ will grant you long life in sound health and all graces. I congratulate you, our dear Yeye, all ekitis, students of ABUAD, all academic and non academic staff as well as myself, what you have accomplished and still accomplishing is far too big to be ascribed to a man alone, but a mighty doing of the Lord through this generous, humble and fatherly icon of educational development. You have become an eternal testimony for all to share. I pray GOD to write your name in the BOOK OF LIFE in JESUS name…
Pastor Taiwo Ola,
CHRISTHOUSE INT. Lagos
Your contribution is appreciated and noted with thanks.
I have systematically been following your articles since sometimes in 2011 when you began a series on the root cause of Nigerian problems and challenges drawing inferences from how Lord Frederic Lugard described Nigeria, Nigerians and Africa as a whole. It has been nice moments to read your articles. I do not feel recovered (as if is illness) when I miss a week until I have a go through. I commend your efforts and the products. They have been well researched, meeting contemporary needs, true and the suggestions are always reasonable, realistic and plausible. I have not seen (not in anyway exaggerating) anyone that understand Nigeria and Nigerians as so clear and speak out of such undiluted mind. I see also that with the level of my knowledge of the learned writer, he is “as good as his word”. He lives his word. He is not like the “do what I say not what I do”. Or more bluntly, he is not like Portia in William Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice. Carry on the good work. More grace to your elbows.
From: OLAJIDE P. ADEWALE , Esq.
Thanks for highly inspirational comment.