By Uche Amunike
The Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has called for the need for government to have a partnership with the private sector in order to meet up with the educational needs of Nigerians, stressing that it was expedient that the regulators of the education sector maintained standards so that Nigeria and the entire African continent would not be disconnected from the rest of the world.
Speaking, at the 20th convocation ceremony of Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo State, where the institution’s teaching hospital was renamed after the president and founder of Christ Embassy, Reverend Chris Oyakhilome, Yemi Osinbajo, who was represented by Minister of Transportation, Muazu Sambo, harped on the need to strengthen this partnership.
His words: ‘You will recall that the first government university in Nigeria, the University of Ibadan, was founded in 1948. Today, there are 43 federal universities and 48 state universities in the country. This shows that it has taken both the federal and the state governments 74 years to establish 91 universities. Whereas, it has only taken the private sector 23 years to establish 79 universities. This reaffirms the need to deepen our partnership with the private sector.’
‘Speaking of educational standard and quality, it is no longer news that the world is a global village, universities across Africa must align with international best practices to deliver standard and qualitative education to their students. Anything short of this will make our continent uncompetitive.’
Yemi Osinbajo further vituperated that the expansion of tertiaryinstitutions would accommodate more youths who constitute about 70% of the Nigeria population.
His words: ‘As a nation, we must invest in more Open Universities. With the number of youths accounting for about 70 per cent of our population, we cannot overemphasize the need to expand the capacity of our tertiary education landscape cost-effectively.’
‘According to the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, in 2019, the carrying capacity across our Tertiary Institutions stood at 750,000 while no fewer than 1.9 million candidates apply yearly.’
He also called for the need to encourage transnational education by intentionally attracting top foreign universities worldwide to set up their campuses in Nigeria.
The convocation lecture was titled ‘The Role of Universities in Promoting Socio-economic Integration in Africa’ and was delivered by the former Prime Minister of the Republic of Guinea, Kabine Komara and the Vice President, in reference to his speech, added that the world is a global village, therefore, universities across the African continent need to align with international best practices so as to remain relevant enough to compete with tertiary institutions around the world and deliver quality education and standards to students.
The Chancellor, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion, the Esama of Benin, on his part explained during his speech, that he renamed the teaching hospital from Igbinedion University Teaching Hospital to Pastor Chris Oyakhilome Igbinedion University Teaching Hospital, in recognition of Oyakhilome’ssterling qualities and significant contribution to the upliftment of mankind, and his exceptional devotion to the healing ministry.