The Vice Chancellor of the Ekiti State University (EKSU) Ado-Ekiti, Professor Edward Olanipekun says Nigeria needs more universities that would be adequately funded.
He also counselled undergraduates to learn skills through entrepreneurship centres on campuses to be self-reliant after graduation.
Speaking during a media chat in Ado Ekiti, the Professor of Industrial Chemistry said the country needs more universities with its increasing population but funding of the institutions has always been the problem.
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.”
Speaking further on entrepreneurship for undergraduates, Olanipekun said, “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 being 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 centre, where all the students, will atleast learn one skill or the other before they graduate. And is compulsory for every students. 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 centre.
“Talking about food security, it is something that must be taking seriously, because without food security there will be problems. If we are not able to feed ourselves there are bound to be challenges.
“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 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.”
The VC stated that the state owed university is not doing badly in terms of research with recent commissioning of Office of research, development and innovation.
“This is to see how some the research breakthroughs can actually be showcased and the office is working on that. We are also not resting on our oars to ensure that better ground breaking research findings are recorded here.”