Ola Ajayi, Ibadan
ACADEMIC Staff Union of Universities has blamed the unimpressive ranking of Nigerian universities by the Center for World University Ranking on the failure of the Federal Government to make education as its priority.
The union said if the government had heeded its numerous calls to provide enabling environment for education especially in tertiary institutions across the country, the ranking was only two
Nigerian Universities, the University of Ibadan, and the University of Nigeria made the world’s best 2,000 would have been better.
While speaking about the ranking, the Chairman University of Ibadan chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Professor Ayo Akinwole lamented that the two universities which presently hold national rankings of first and second in Nigeria could not make top 1,000.
Making allusion to other universities in Africa, the union stated that the first thirteen universities in South Africa made the best 2,000 universities while seven of them made the best one thousand varsities in the world.
By this ranking, the University of Ibadan is 8th in Africa followed by the University of Western Cape, South Africa (1,158) that is ranked 9th on the continent.
ASUU stated that the ranking had vindicated the struggle by ASUU to make the government commit not less than 26% of her national budget to education lamenting that the best the Muhammadu Buhari government has done is to reduce the budget year to about 6% at present.
According to him, ASUU has been drawing Government and Nigerians’ attention to the rot in the tertiary education system and was proven right by the 2012 Needs Assessment conducted by the federal government.
As revealed in the ranking, it has taken personal dogged efforts of research output of academics in the University of Ibadan and the University of Nigeria to position Nigeria on the global map.
Professor Akinwole noted that the only variable that made two Nigerian universities to be ranked among the best 2000 universities is in relation to the research performance where the University of Ibadan had 1,101 with a total score of 69.4 while Nsukka had 1805 and a total score of 66.2.
ASUU has been on strike to make government address issues of revitalisation fund, Earned academic allowances, visitation panel to universities, the proliferation of state varsities and issues of governance in them, and speedy conclusion of the renegotiation of 2009 agreement.
Professor Akinwole admonished Nigerians to join ASUU in ensuring that Federal Government injects more funds for the revitalisation of public varsities so that Nigerian universities will be able to compete effectively globally and their graduates will be respected across the world with their certificates.
“Although one may have one or two things to say about the indices used in the ranking the truth of the matter is that Nigeria academics are using their own blood to still make Nigerian varsities to run because the government has become irresponsible and wicked.”
“They don’t have stakes in it again as they send their children abroad. A government that is serious will not cut from the education budget and leave untouched the budget of the National Assembly to renovate their complex that has no direct impact on the country”.
” This is a clear demonstration of where the priority of this government is. During COVID-19 Nigerian researchers are contributing the meager amount they are paid to develop ventilators while legislators break the law on preventive advisory.”