Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) says Nigerian universities must be repositioned to take the lead in research and innovation, to improve their ranking globally and promote economic development.
The TETFund Executive Secretary, Prof. Suleiman Elias-Bogoro, said this at the opening of a two-day workshop on ‘Requirements for Strengthening Nigerian Universities for Higher Global Ranking’ in Lagos on Monday.
According to Bogoro, the problems hindering the progress and performance of Nigerian universities in the global ranking of universities include poor investment and decaying infrastructure.
Others are frequent strike actions, corruption in the public university system, a high number of universities not being worthy of status, poor attitude of lecturers to teaching and research.
He also mentioned low research outputs, low performance on international linkages and collaboration, loss in quality of faculty due to brain drain of lecturers and brilliant students to foreign institutions.
The executive secretary said TETFund had recently established 12 centres of excellence for research and development in different universities to promote, stimulate and deepen research for development.
Bogoro noted the importance of education as a critical ingredient for nation-building and development, saying it was pertinent to invest in it and learning to be able to catch up with advanced societies.
He said Nigerian universities were not performing well in the global ranking of universities which called for reflection and action on the part of the government, Nigerian intelligentsia and the people.
“Universities have played a critical role in the progress and development of all advanced nations.
“Through the wider impact of research, universities have transformed the lives of people and nations and it has provided ideas on which future prosperity will be founded.
“We need to do more to put the nation on a path to growth and progress and there is no better place to begin the process than in repositioning the nation’s tertiary institutions and universities.
“Unfortunately, today, in the global ranking of universities, Nigerian universities are not doing well and are not known to have been.
“The University of Ibadan tops the list of Nigeria universities ranking 401-500th on the Time Higher Education ranking 2022 table. University of Lagos ranked 501-600th while Covenant University ranked 601-608th.
“To a significant extent, we have been able to scale up the ranking of our universities but more needs to be done to ensure more universities are highly ranked,” he said.
Bogoro said some of the indicators for ranking include teaching, research, citations, international outlook, industry income, academic and employer reputation, international faculty ratio.
Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), said the theme of the workshop was timely as it resonates with ongoing NUC’s efforts at reinventing the educational system to make it a relevant member of the global community.
Rasheed, who was represented by Dr Chris Maiyaki, the Deputy Executive Secretary, NUC, said global rankings had the potential to prick the conscience of universities as they interrogate their sense of mission while stimulating innovation under a competitive ranking system.
He said that though Nigerian universities were performing poorly on the global ranking, there had been significant improvements in the number of universities represented.
“In 2018, Nigeria had only one university on the top 1000 universities across the world. Today, we have six universities represented in the top universities ranked.
“As a regulatory agency for universities education, NUC has remained steadfast in ensuring the qualitative and orderly development of university education toward global relevance and competitiveness.
“Regrettably, the commission has not conducted any ranking exercise or ranked any university in Nigeria in the last 17 years, therefore the stories making rounds that the NUC has ranked any university is false and should be discarded outrightly,” he said.
The Chairman, Board of Trustees, TETFund, Alhaji Kashim Ibrahim-Imam, said the global economy today was driven by knowledge; therefore, the performance of Nigerian universities on the ranking systems was worrisome.
He said that TETFund was making efforts to impact Nigerian universities beyond the provision of infrastructure to extend to the areas of research, innovation and scholarship.
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