The Vice Chancellor of Osun State University, Labode Popoola, on Tuesday, said that Nigerian universities are training students for jobs that no longer exist.
Mr. Popoola made the assertion in a lecture delivered in Kaduna at the maiden Postgraduate Lecture Series of Kaduna State University, KASU.
The vice chancellor said that the development was in sharp contrast with what obtained in world class universities which were training students for future jobs.
The don said that the absence of meaningful research in the universities has crippled the quest for creativity and innovation required to unleash sustainable development.
He said contemporary Nigerian universities and research systems cannot contribute to national development due to absences of academic culture that drives process for good governance.
According to him, graduates of world class universities are sought after because they carry out leading-edge research and are engaged in technology transfer.
“This can only be obtained where there is high concentration of talented lectures and students, abundant resources and favourable governance.
“But what do we see in Nigerian universities; poor funding, poor planning, collapse of academic culture, corruption and blurred vision among others”.
He advised the academia in Nigeria to come up with new ideas and engage the rest of the world through inter and multidisciplinary research collaboration.
The chairman of the occasion, A.S. Nwankwo, of the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna, described the lecture as crucial in the discourse on the relevance of the Nigerian universities to the society.
On his part, Abubakar Saddique, of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, who was the lead discussant, traced the root cause of challenges in the education system to poor service delivery at the basic level.
He said that students were poorly prepared at primary and secondary school levels for university education.
According to him, the business of universities is to identify societal problems and conduct research to solve them.
“Since Nigerian universities cannot adequately prepare their students to effectively address contemporary problems, how can they prepare them for challenges of the future?
“The country needs a bottom up approach; from the basic to the tertiary institutions to be able to address the rot in our education system.”
Earlier, the Dean, Post Graduate School, KASU, Abdullahi Ashafa, said that post graduate students represent the pool for the next generation of academicians.
Mr. Ashafa explained that the lecture was designed to address the issue of quality of training in the university system, to ensure competitiveness of graduates in the continuously changing world.
In a related matter, the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, has urged Nigerian universities to introduce anti-corruption courses for their undergraduates.
The Acting Chairman of the Commission, Ibrahim Magu, made the call on Tuesday during a courtesy visit to the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, NUC, Adamu Rasheed.
Mr. Magu said the EFCC has decided to sponsor over the next 10 years up to 20 Ph.D researches on any aspect of corruption, beginning from 2018.
“The EFCC wants NUC to lead in the introduction of anti-corruption curricula in all Nigerian universities to be taken by all fresh undergraduate students regardless of course or discipline,” he said.
“Whether one is studying Accounting or Building Engineering, Food Sciences or Marine Biology, Political Science or Pharmacy, being exposed to a rigorous and evidence-based knowledge of corruption and its consequences on polity and economy as well as individual self-esteem would be beneficial to the nation, the community and individual” Mr. Magu said.
He said the EFCC would also support the publication of manuscripts relevant to the teaching of the anti-corruption course.
Mr. Magu said the commission wants everyone to join in the fight against corruption, adding that the university system is very important and that the youth remain the commission’s target.
“We want everybody to join in the fight against corruption, because the university system is very important and we want to target the youth because they are the beneficiaries of whatever we are doing, which is better life for the next generation.
“I am not saying the NUC has not been fighting corruption but I want to intensify the fight.
“Our request is course units that will address the fight against corruption, ” he said.
Responding, the Executive Secretary of the NUC said the commission would soon begin consultation with academics, critical stakeholders and other specialists on the best way the curriculum on fight against corruption can be put together.