The Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council, University of Lagos (UNILAG), Dr Wale Babalakin (SAN), has called for better funding of universities.
Speaking yesterday during the investiture of the 12th Vice-Chancellor of UNILAG, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, Babalakin explained that with a population of about 40,000 students, UNILAG needs about N48 billion per annum to effectively reposition its academic activities.
The pro-chancellor said that for academic activities to thrive, there must be more investment and commitment to education by key stakeholders.
According to him, Ogundipeâ€™s appointment is coming at a time when education in the country needs rejuvenation.
Describing Ogundipe as â€œan outstanding scholar, a great community leader and a phenomenal administratorâ€, Babalakin said: â€œHe is starting at a time when education in Nigeria is at crossroads. He is coming at a time when we have to think out of the box to create a university system that is comparable to other university systems in the world. He is coming at a stage when the Nigerian university system is being classified as beneath the top 800 in the world. Once upon a time, the University College of Ibadan (UCH) used to be the first in the whole of the common wealth.
â€œWe have a determination to bring ourselves back to our pride of place and we cannot afford to tell Nigerians that we cannot do this. There has been serious plans for education to be free at all levels. My position is that if thereâ€™s a choice between free education and good education at all levels, I choose the latter. It requires N1.2 million on the average to thoroughly teach a properly accredited course in the university. With the population of about 40,000 at UNILAG, we require N48 billion per annum. We are able to attract about 10 or 11 billion Naira from the Federal Government. There is a shortfall of N37 billion. I leave it to you egg heads here to tell us how to fill in the gap.â€
Ogundipe promised to take the institution to greater heights, saying: â€œIt is my vision to produce graduates that are locally competitive and globally relevant. We intend to build a spirit of possibility and clear re-orientation among students and staff.
â€œWe are also deploying human and material resources towards rebranding, especially in the area of research.â€™â€™
The VC said that prominent among his goals is â€œthe setting-up of a modular refinery, as well as obtaining a mining licence.â€™â€™
He said the refinery would serve as laboratories for students of the Faculty of Engineering.