By Daniel Dafe
A Professor of Industrial/Development Sociology in the Department of Sociology and Psychology, Delta State University, Abraka, Victor Jike, has said that Nigerian Universities lack the capacity to train students.
Delivering the 65th in the series of inaugural lectures of the university yesterday, the university don added that, “it is not a fluke that no Nigerian university is ranked close to the first one thousand universities in the world.”
He said: “The secondary school I attended, St. Peter Clavers College, Aghalokpe, Delta State, had a diversity of qualified teaching staff. In 1972 the school had five expatriate staff, two Irish, two Canadians and one English lady who taught Chemistry so well to positively impact many of us that today have become professors.
“Now we have universities in Nigeria where all staff come from the local environment and think in the same manner; where there is rampant in breeding, a tendency towards intellectual insularity and esoterism and we expect Nigerian universities to be ranked among the best in the world. The corruptible cannot produce the incorruptible.”
He continued: “When a departmental budget is to be pruned, staff training is the likely casualty while the budgetary quotient for construction is deliberately padded because this is where the Ogas derive their kickbacks.”
He noted that “the environment of work in many public organizations is shameful with no water, no light and most times stuffy and unhygienic.
He added: “When it rains, some of the roofs leak. There is hardly any platform to sustain a maintenance culture. So how can workers be motivated under such conditions? When workers fall ill, they give them leave to seek treatment in the hospital. In most cases workers do not have the wherewithal to take care of their health needs which may lead to premature death. “Unfortunately, when workers die while still in government service, the funeral is lack luster and the representation of government is minimal and scanty. However, workers who are officially dead remain on the official pay roll as ghost workers for many years adding to the financial emoluments of their erstwhile bosses in a ghoulish dialectical macabre inter play between the living and the dead.
Citing the president of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Mr. Ayuba Waba who said that Nigerian workers are treated like slaves, he argued that “many of the constituent unions are plodding on but many have fallen by the way side and loudly compromised the principle of the struggle for workers emancipation.”
“Colonial educational system had inherent limitations and these shortcomings are still very much evident in the contemporary epoch,” he observed.
Continuing, he said: “Fifty-eight years after political independence in 1960, we still perceive clear manifestations of a misplaced colonial educational policy. Repair and maintenance culture have failed to take root in the subconscious of Nigerians simply because it is not part of our heritage.
“Education is central to development in several respects. The quality of education determines the scope of capacity that could be nurtured to propel development.
“A system that emphasizes the passing of examination rather than instilling an epistemological basis for imaginativeness. A system that places premium on learning by rote rather than having a clear understanding of the contending issues that inhibit the nation’s development. A system that is glaringly bereft of requisite infrastructures to sustain a worthwhile scientific enterprise, where there is no constant energy supply, where retired professors cannot be replaced and pensioners ‘benefits are not paid. Where science students are known to acquire science-based training without the corollary practical laboratory component. A system which manifestly moulds good character but inadvertently encourages deviance and criminality.
According to him, “the question we ought to be asking is, what do these unemployed graduates do? Most governments in the developed world would love to use the answer to this question for policy formulation and planning.