Varsities can’t continue to survive on govt largesse, says Babalakin
NEWS DIGEST–The Pro-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Dr Wale Babalakin (SAN), has said universities cannot continue to survive on government largesse, adding that they must learn to invest and improve on revenue generation.
Speaking on Thursday during the conferment of postgraduate and honorary degrees at UNILAG’s 50th convocation, Babalakin said Nigerians universities could not continue to survive as “government departments expecting government largesse.”
He said while there had been a raging battle on whether education should be funded by the government alone or by both the government and other stakeholders, his position was that quality education “is an inescapable necessity.”
He said, “It is a must that we all have to be properly educated, so if government can afford to do it all on its own, so be it.
“But if government cannot afford it, then we all must join forces to do it. If the choice is between quality education and free education, I choose the former.”
Citing examples of universities that had worked hard to be self-sufficient, Babalakin said, “Harvard University today has an average of $36bn. Oxford and Cambridge universities jointly have about $30bn.
“One college in Cambridge (Trinity College) has $1.3bn. How did these universities achieve this? The founders of these universities realised that universities must invest, create value, save money and be productive.
“Our universities cannot continue to survive as government departments expecting government largesse. We have to take advantage of what we’ve got.
“There are no less that 50 Nigerians today who can rebuild UNILAG, but they have to be sure that their contributions would be used appropriately and they would be able to measure performance and monitor their money.”
UNILAG also conferred honorary doctorates on a former Federal Commissioner for Works and Housing, Alhaji Olufemi Okunnu; the General Overseer of Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries, Dr Daniel Olukoya; and the founder of Zenith Bank Plc, Mr Jim Ovia.
The university also convocated 5,405 postgraduate students, which comprised 150 PhD, 4,771 master’s and 484 postgraduate students.
The ceremony also saw Oluwaseyi Ajibade from the Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering bag the award of the overall best PhD thesis titled, ‘Development and Optimisation of Dual Particle Reinforced Polymer Composites for Automobile Break Pad Applications.’
Also, Prof. Sulaiman Adekola received the title of emeritus professor, while Prof. James Olowokudejo received the title of distinguished professor.
While delivering his address as the visitor to the institution, President Muhammadu Buhari urged the graduates to be patriotic and see their acquired knowledge as an avenue to serve the nation.
Buhari, who spoke through the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, Prof Abubakar Rasheed, told the graduates, “This is the time to be patriotic. Nation building awaits you and the knowledge you have acquired should be applied to nation building; that is true patriotism.”
The Vice-Chancellor of UNILAG, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, urged the new graduates to contribute their quota to the development of the school and make the university proud in their fields of endeavour.