The immediate past president of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, has called on the Federal Government to desist from granting approvals for the setting up of new universities in the country. Ogunyemi who made the appeal yesterday in Abuja, during a national sympo-sium and retirement felicitation to honour a former president of the Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union, Comrade Sam Akindele, insisted that government should focus on rehabilitating existing universities for greater output, which is quality education.
While noting that Nigeria doesn’t need new universities, he lamented the decay which, according to him, was consuming the education sector. He said: “Nigeria doesn’t need new universities. The structures we are operating: how well are they positioned to deliver? We are talking of establishing more institutions whereas they are not catering for the existing ones. Who is deceiving who? “Go to the National Assembly now, you can be sure they have nothing less than 30 bills proposing new colleges of education; not less than 50 bills proposing new universities, polytechnics and so on. Is that what we need? “How well are the existing institutions delivering? It means those who are there are not connected with the system. “In 2012, we advocated for the NEEDS Assessment of public universities in Nigeria.
What we came up with the report was scandalous. The N1.3trn that we proposed to fix our universities in six years is real. “I visited first generation universities where we saw them using kerosene stoves in place of fossil burners, and were fetching water in buckets in a 21st century laboratory. What quality education are we proposing?” Former president of Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU), Comrade Sam Akindele, noted that one way to attract the best brains to the education sector was to ensure improved packages for teachers in the country.