A Professor of Mycology, which is the study of Fungi in the University of Benin (UNIBEN), Prof. John Okhuoya, has decried moral bankruptcy among graduates from Nigerian Universities.
He identified the growing trends to unfavourable learning environment, crowded classrooms, inadequate accommodation for students and lack of basic amenities occasioned by poor funding of educational system for the menace.
Okhuoya, Director of African Centre for mushroom Research and Technological innovation (UNIBEN) who spoke on the topic: “Rebuilding the broken walls of Nigerian Universities Educational system”, said this while delivering the 49th Founder’s Day lecture of the University of Benin on Thursday in Benin City.
The University don, listed the vices that have led to the broken walls in Nigerian Universities to include Cultism, rape, cheating, sex for grades/marks episodes, indecent dressing, extortion, gun violence and insecurity, which according to him has largely devalued the Nigerian educational sector and have discouraged lecturers and students from foreign Universities from studying in Nigerian Universities.
He however advocated for adequate funding for Nigerian education education sector to put it as par with other Universities abroad which had been the norm towards improving the quality of graduates, research and learning.
He stated that: “It is expected that Nigerian Universities produce graduates that are worthy in character and learning, sadly, the current educational system does not support this view. It has been said however that our education system produce graduates with education without learning, so our graduates to a large extent can be said not to be worthy of our Certificates because they are morally deficient”.
According to him, “The mistakes we have made all along, is to think that our Universities are meant for our local environment. Not at all! The more we make our institution local in all aspects, the more local our graduates and thus unfit for global competitiveness. Universities, no matter where they are cited are for global service and relevance. All of us must come to terms with this”.
He further argued that the resulting consequences of the neglect and decay in infrastructure has made it impossible for most students to take interest in reading “books outside their discipline. Many can’t speak good English, not surprising that many of our graduates are not employable in the industries or private sector”.
Prof. Okhuoya who is one of the pioneer Alumnui and former Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Benin, however recommended a shift in paradigm in poor funding of Nigerian education system, and the urgent need for Stakeholders to shun buck-passing, bury their hatchet for the survival of tertiary education in Nigeria, adding that there should be an effective quality assurance for all programmes.
“To tackle the challenges of character training, I suggest the creation of character assessment Unit (CAU) where every student can be assessed with a gaol to developing refined and decent students that are profitable to themselves and the society at large”, he said.
In a remark, the Pro-Chancellor of the University of Benin, Dr. Daniel Dimulak Mwamut, aligned with the submission of the Founder’s Day lecturer and described him an all-round scholar.
“The cry of Prof. Okhuoya could not have come at a better time” haven kindle the zeal of Nigerians to be strive to make a difference in society.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, we cannot wait for the federal Government to do it alone or build the broken walls of our Universities because Government is a spirit. The more we look for, the more difficult it is to see it”, he said.
Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State whose goodwill message was delivered by the State Commissioner for Education, Mr Jimoh Ijegbae, congratulated the University for making giant strides in Nigeria and beyond.