UI Don suggests a composite model of interventions to improve tertiary education in Nigeria

Oru Leonard 

A former Provost of the College of Medicine and professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Professor Akinyinka O. Omigbodun, FAS, has suggested that a composite model of interventions is required to improve tertiary education in Nigeria.

He made the suggestion while delivering the third part of the 44th University Lecture of the University of Ibadan.

The title of the lecture was: “From Cells to Systems: Building a Vibrant Academy.”

Traditionally, the University Lecture, which served as the climax to the series of inaugural lectures for the 2022/2023 academic session, was delivered in three parts, and the topics were:
■ “Cells, Organs and Systems: The Cell Engaging the System”
■ “The System Nourishing the Cell”
■ “Making the System Function Better”

Professor Omigbodun said the four key issues of financing, democracy, the national economy, and training/retention of personnel must be pursued together in order to improve tertiary education.

He explained that financing is needed for infrastructure, research support, scholarships, and competitive wages.

He said academic freedom and innovation thrive better when there is democracy, defined as the rule of law, societal peace, freedom of expression, and collegial decision-making.

According to the University Lecturer, the national economy determines how good the municipal infrastructure and services and employment outlook will be after training.

To cap it all, Professor Omigbodun said the best graduates must be attracted for further training and retention as University teachers.

He said leaders at all levels must pave the way in building a shared vision, encourage mentorship, and empower new leaders to emerge in preparation for transition to ensure continuity in the system.

He charged leaders to build concensus, establish trust, and foster collaboration and teamwork.

Professor Omigbodun also advised that the interventions by TETFund should stick strictly to infrastructure, adding that other mechanisms should be established for research funding and for staff development in universities.

He said partnerships with industry and collaborations with other universities and research institutes are essential for progress.

He also stated that the salaries of academics and other staff in the universities must be competitive with what is obtainable in other sectors of the economy and comparable to what other countries at the same level of development as Nigeria are offering to personnel in their university systems.

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