Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, a former Executive Secretary of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), on Monday said that poor budgetary allocation is responsible for poor and abysmal performance of Nigerian Universities.
This is even as he said that over 95 percent of capital infrastructure provisions in the nation’s universities is from the education intervention agency.
Bogoro disclosed this on Monday in Benin, while delivering the 44th Conviction lecture of the University of Benin (UNIBEN), with the title; “Ivory Towers and the challenge of Nigeria’s innovative and creative renaissance,” noted that said Nigeria ranks 20th in the world, in budgetary allocation to education.
It would be recalled that members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), are currently on strike over alleged funding of Nigeria’s universities.
The former TETFUND boss the intervention agency expanded its interventions to support academic staff development, support for book development and professional /institution- based journal production, library development and National Research Fund (NRF) and institution-based research funds with ceiling levels of N50 million and N2 million respectively.
While noting that Nigeria has remained the lowest funding nation of public education in the world, he urged academicians in the university to come up with additional non-budgetary funding window options
A statistical table of cross-country comparison of percentage of budget allocation to education against the national budget (World Bank 2012), he presented, showed that smaller African countries are far ahead of Nigeria in the funding of education.
Budgetary allocation of countries like Uganda, 4th (27.0%), are Botswana, 10th (20.0%), Lesotho,14th (17.0%) and Burkina Faso, 15th (16.8%) respectively, are higher than Nigeria’s 20th (8.4%) position in world ranking of education funding.
The former TETFUND boss noted tangible asset value has overtaken tangible asset value, due to poor funding of institutions, and has resulted in poor human capital and half-baked graduates produced by the various universities across the country.
He noted that universities and centres of excellence are not just institutions, but are considered the foundation of other national institutions, since they are the bastions of innovations, creativity, inventions, highest level of training and knowledge acquisition, strategies and quality control.
Bogoro who however said that all hope is not lost, called for a rebirth in the allocation of funds to the country’s tertiary institutions.
“All is, however, not lost, as the trend can be reversed, and we in the ivory towers have a leading role to help in ensuring that we mold and sustain qualitative and human capital through compliance with the statutory mandate to our universities and other tertiary institutions by maintaining the high standards prescribed in our laws, as well as improvement of working environment that will guarantee the quality of our graduates and research outcomes.
“We must as a people, accept to elevate human capital development to the level of international best practice which has been responsible for the higher competitiveness of the strongest economies, technologies and military powers of the new millennium.
“We should through research and powerful advocacy in campuses, seize the initiative of promoting strong institutions, rather than strong men, rulers or personalities, as the veritable foundation for governance,” he said.
The former TETFUND boss who commended the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), for being instrumental to the establishment of the agency, however, tasked the Union on new innovations to help rescue universities and indeed the entire education sector from non-performance.
Bogoro, also advocated the need to re-assess the proliferation of universities for strict compliance with not only quality and standards but also sustainable funding mechanism.
He noted that ASUU and other stakeholders in the universities have a vital role to play in demanding that minimum prescription for standard ps and funding regimes are met by all universities that have been licensed.
Earlier, the Vice Chancellor of UBIB, Prof. Friday Orumwense, thanked the guest lecturer for making out time for the lecture.