Except wealthy Nigerians cultivate the habit of endowing universities with the much-needed wherewithal to maximize intake capacity, the nation’s Ivory Towers will have no choice but to continue to shut its gates at quantum of youths who are eligible for admission.
The University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Kolawole Salako dropped the hint even as he allayed the fears of unadmitted candidates assuring that hope is not lost, provided they can take advantage of vocational skills, mastery of international languages and writing of remedial examinations like JUPEB to better their lots.
Fielding questions from newsmen after monitoring Post UTME Screening with other Principal Officers, the Vice-Chancellor who was represented by Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development), Professor Lateef Sanni expressed satisfaction over the conduct of the exercise describing it as a huge success.
He informed that over 10,000 candidates applied for admission into the University, disclosing that the institution’s carrying capacity can only accommodate 4,000.
Professor Salako noted with dismay that this wouldn’t have been so had it been the elites, especially wealthy Nigerians had cultivated the habit of supporting tertiary institutions with endowment like their foreign counterparts.
He lamented that instead of being supportive with their affluence, Nigeria’s money bags are rather fond of heaping the blame on government who also needs their support to better the lots of the nation’s education sector.
The Vice-Chancellor who commended the duo of philanthropists, Chief (Mrs.) Folorunsho Alakija and Chief Wale Babalakin (SAN) for bountifully endowing Osun State University and the University of Lagos respectively, enjoined other wealthy and well-meaning Nigerians to emulate them and foreign donors like Bill Gates because they won’t carry their wealth to the graves.
His words “Don’t tell me to advise Government, tell me to advise Nigerians. Bill Gate is not a Nigerian but he’s sponsoring Education, Agriculture and Health in Nigeria. My advice is to wealthy Nigerians that they should understand that all those billions should be used to assist humanity for enduring legacies.
“What our wealthy men and women should do is what their counterparts are doing in America and Europe. They go into serious endowment”, he added.
“Only one family with only one daughter donated billions of dollar to Harvard University and Stanford University. I attended a convocation on Saturday on behalf of our Vice-Chancellor, an amazon, Chief (Mrs.) Alakija alone donated about 1billion naira worth facility to Osun State University.
“The UNILAG Pro-Chancellor, Chief Wale Babalakin has done a lot too, in the area of endowment. There are several individuals who can help our university and who can support what the government is doing”.
However, he advised those that will not be admitted to choose other levels of qualified activities such as JUPEB saying if they qualify, they will be admitted as 200 level direct entry students. He lamented that the space that could accommodate a larger number of students at the same time is not available unless the Government gives the University more financial and infrastructural support.
He urged Nigerian youths to enhance their vocational skills, saying that, their certificates will be challenged in the world market with the way things are going now and the climate variability that is coming, “hurricane, flooding will change the market”. He posited that the only way out apart from the certificate is how skilful are the youths to be able to respond to the service industries.
He explained further that beyond the issue for schooling for certificate, there are needs for the opportunity to allow our youths to enhance their skills.
On the need to include vocational studies in Nigeria’s school system stressing that FUNAAB already has Centre for Entrepreneural Studies (CENTS) but that alone can’t give the country the needed result. He reiterated that when he was growing up, he joined the bricklayers and the mechanics in Ibadan adding that those activities are the ones that will give returns and bring back the businesses that the country really needed.
Professor Sanni stressed that structural vocational studies are already in place at the University, and it is made compulsory now by the NUC but the most important thing is to allow our youths to learn vocational skills outside the university.
Professor Sanni advised students to be bilingual because of the unemployment issue in the country; “if you are able to speak two languages, you would have more advantage over someone who speaks only one. That is part of what our undergraduates need to learn and it is very important”.