The Vice Chancellor of the Ekiti state University (EKSU) Ado-Ekiti, Prof. Edward Olanipekun has called on government to increase funding for the universities and other tertiary institutions in the country.
Olanipekun who made the appeals while addressing journalists, lamented the country’s institutions are being faced with protracted financial challenges which has continued to affect their operations.
He said that Nigeria with its increasing population needs more universities in order to measure up the candidates who applied for University education on yearly basis but could not be admitted due to limited space.
Olanipekun said: “As I speak, we don’t have enough tertiary institutions in the country to accommodate teeming applicants who are craving for university education. Looking at the available statistics, less than 10 percent of students writing UTME yearly are lucky to secure admission into the available ones.
“I think establishing universities is good but funding them is something that is germane. And that has been a recurring issue that is leading to an imbroglio between the government and the staff unions.
“This is an issue that the government has to look into seriously on how it can be addressed. There are still other challenges the Universities are facing in Nigeria which include accommodation for the students on campus.
“It will be nice having almost all students residing on the campus. There is a dearth of infrastructure in the available universities and having more is not a problem but they must be well funded. Conscious efforts must be made by governments to fund education, especially at the tertiary level.”
He said the institution under his watch as the VC in the almost five years have recorded landmark successes in the education and entrepreneur aspect, adding that the graduates being churned out are making headway in their respective careers.
“I also don’t subscribe to the idea of a graduate study to be looking for white- collar-jobs. Things have changed over time. It is no longer the certificate one is carrying that can only bring food to the table, you can do other things after graduation to become an employer of labour.
“To bridge that gap, our university has a very good and robust entrepreneurship study center, where all the students will at least learn one skill or the other before they graduate.
“And is compulsory for every student. We have quite a number of activities going on there, which can make them self-reliant and independent. We thank the Tetfund for providing the needed fund for equipping the center.
“Talking about food security, it is something that must be taken seriously, because without food security there will be problems. If we are not able to feed ourselves there are bound to be challenges.
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“Senate in its wisdom has just decided that, henceforth, all our students should take as a compulsory course an art of agriculture. In other words, they must have a grasp of something that has to do with agriculture.
“So, the curriculum is being put together by the faculty of Agricultural Sciences and as soon as that is concluded, it will be rolled out. We know the importance of food security, particularly in our present society and there is no way it’ll occupy the back seat.
“So, in terms of entrepreneurship, we are ensuring that all our graduates master one skill or the other before they leave the university.
“The university is ready to support them to acquire facilities that would enable them to set up their own businesses after graduation. It is compulsory that all the students, including medical students, learn one skill depending on their time. Some can even learn two or more.”