Osun State Governor, Mr. Adegboyega Oyetola, has tasked Nigerian academics to give a new direction of developmental agenda to the country, to solve an array of socio-economic challenges facing the nation.
The governor gave the charge at the 6th Biennial Conference of Committee of Pro-Chancellors of State-Owned Universities in Nigeria, held on Tuesday at the Osun State University, Osogbo.
Governor Oyetola, who was represented by his Deputy, Mr. Benedict Alabi, said as a solution provider, the University education system should be strengthened in a way to redirect the affairs of the country into a more prosperous future.
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He maintained that as centers of research and knowledge production, Nigerian education institutions, especially the universities have a special role to play in the quest for speedy development.
The Governor described the theme of the conference, “State ownership Dynamics, University Council’s and the need for a New Social Contract between Society and University”, as very apt and of necessity.
In his words, “We must consider, in a missionary sense, our duties in training our young people in the way they should go as direct solutions to our societal challenges as being critical to the survival of our society.
“This same functionalist orientation must pervade our research enterprises to the extent that we are fully persuaded that our states and country can only work if we are determined to make it so as central and coordinate components.
“In addition to this, we must accept the challenge of leading focused, disciplined and visionary universities as a way of ridding our institutions of ethical crises, corrupt and criminal tendencies, among other similar vices that have conspired to render them acutely ineffective in recent years.
“Similarly, to confront the perennial monster of underfunding, we should accept the challenge of thinking outside the box and come up with innovative means of running enterprising universities in a manner that does not only deliver more with less but also depend less on the dwindling revenues from our states.
“There is also a need for us as state universities to give attention to academic stability, which is a critical component of attaining internationalization of our Ivory Towers. We engage in self-delusion if we crave academic excellence when our institutions go on strike at the slightest occurrence of industrial dispute”.
In his address, the keynote speaker, Prof. Isiaq Oloyede, who is the Registrar Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) highlighted the nature and foundation of problems confronting the University Education System in Nigeria and where some state governments have also contributed to it in the name of politics as well as the way forward.