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A professor of English at Rutgers University, New Jersey, United States, Olabode Ibironke has advised the Nigerian government to invest more in the educational sector to solve the insecurity challenges facing the country.
Ibironke stressed that investment in education would not only solve the educational challenges in the country, but also put an end to banditry, terrorism and food insecurity.
The don said this in an interview with Punch newspaper on Monday, extracted by PLATFORM TIMES.
He said, “Education is the first line of human development expected to propel other forms of development. As you know, the Boko Haram problem began as a direct challenge to the kind of education our universities represent. So, a section of our political leadership does not believe in education and cares less about funding it.
“What we are providing now is mass education. The federal universities that used to be highly selective are now instruments of mass instruction. You have this elsewhere as well; higher education should instill the love of learning, and not be a mere press for minting degrees and certificates that do not correlate with tangible skills and know-how. In other words, education in the country has little or no practical utility. There are a few industries or leadership and entrepreneurial opportunities for these graduates.
“Increased investment in education is not only a way out of the educational challenges but could also be the way out of banditry, terrorism and food insecurity.
“I have seen statistics showing that within the last two decades, since the inauguration of the Fourth Republic in 1999, 1,297 days have been lost to strikes. That is about four solid years of lost productivity. The cost-benefit analysis should tell you that years of lost productivity dwarf whatever increment or funding package the government is unwilling to approve. And this is not just ASUU. Sectors of the professional class, the judiciary, and doctors have all been on strike. It is proof that the baseline of our economy is not, strictly speaking, about productivity. The problem with extractive economies is the destruction of productive capacities.”
The don, however, urged the Nigerian government to develop the country’s educational system to international standards to attract scholars across the globe.
“We focus a lot on the university system, but not the support institutions such as the archives, the foundations that provide research support, and professional associations. These ancillary institutions, essential to higher education, must also be developed to enhance the work and status of our universities.”
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