Prof. Peter Okebukola, a former Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), has called on the Federal Government to work toward providing a world-class learning environment for tertiary institutions in the country.
Okebukola made the call at the 14th Convocation Lecture of Covenant University, Ota, Ogun, on Thursday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the lecture was entitled:” World Ranking Parameters: Matters Arising for African Universities.”
Okebukola noted that the nation’s tertiary institutions and those on the African continent were poorly ranked on global league tables as a result of several factors.
He listed the factors to include low investment in research enterprise, research capacity deficits, inefficiencies in the system, sharp practices in research and poor data collection and management capabilities among others.
“There is an urgent need for greater investment in education by the Federal Government and other African countries in order to be ranked as one of the best world-class universities.
“They also need to provide learner-friendly infrastructure by improving investment in research that will strengthen institutional and human research capacities,” he said.
Okebukola urged the Federal Government to address inefficiencies in the system so as to attract international staff and students.
The don also stressed the need for the Federal Government to encourage national ranking of universities in order to prepare the ‘local for the global.’
He canvassed the need to avoid the shame of low ranking and produce better quality graduates to drive national economics, enhance the prestige of the university and attract more students and international scholars.
Okebukola further said the ability of Nigeria and other African countries to create an enabling environment for their universities to thrive would lead to national development.
Prof. Aaron Atayero, the Vice-Chancellor of Covenant University, said that the convocation lecture was timely in addressing national and global issues and proffering solutions to them.
Atayero said that education was a necessary factor for national development and the promotion of entrepreneurship and productivity.
“No nation can achieve sustainable growth without massive investment in education,” he said.
The Chancellor of Covenant University, Dr David Oyedepo, said that ranking consciousness would help Nigeria and African countries propel their tertiary institutions to top global ranking through more investment in education.
Oyedepo said that the only way to develop capacities for learning and national development in Nigeria and other African countries was to make an investment in education a priority.