A renowned playwright, Prof. Olufemi Obafemi, has attributed the inability of Nigerian universities to attract students and lecturers from around the world to the decay in the country’s educational sector.
Obafemi, the sole recipient of the 2018 Nigerian National Order of Merit (NNOM) award, also listed incessant strikes, which had disrupted schools’ calendar as some of the factors responsible for lack of internationalisation of Nigerian universities.
The literary and dramatic scholar, who disclosed this yesterday in Abuja at a reception held in his honour by the Alumni Association of the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN), Abuja Chapter, said that attracting foreign students and lecturers would help to bring about competitiveness and improve the standard of education in the country.
He noted that no meaningful development would be achieved if government fails to put issues concerning education in the front-burner for global reckoning and competitiveness.
“The level of disturbance to the educational process and academic calendar is a discouragement. There are problems, which call for industrial action, but I think we have reached the point in which government must take action to ensure they become limited.
“Agreements with industrial unions must be rapidly met in a gentlemanly way. The trade unions must also look for an alternative way to deal with the problems that government has brought about, otherwise, their constituency will be destroyed. Our universities are no longer respected because of the quality of delivery and quality of education. “I urge government to embark on a rapid movement towards proper and adequate funding of our educational system and improve remuneration,” he said.
He lamented that Nigerian lecturers are one of the must underpaid in the world. “We are one of the poorest paid people across the world. Nobody wants to come and work here because the value of our Naira is low. We must do a lot to improve our economy,” he added.