Posted by By Mayowa Okekale, Ibadan | 3 March 2015 | 3,506 times
African universities must not underestimate the significance of increasing volume of research output and adequate funding to be globally relevant and ranked high among best institutions of the world.
The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Professor Isaac Adewole made this submission during a lecture delivered at Lead City University, Ibadan, at the seventh convocation ceremony of the institution, with the theme: ‘The Nigerian University System and the Search For Global Relevance In The 21st Century’.
Professor Adewole further emphasised that low level of rigorous research majorly constitute a major challenge to higher institutions in Nigeria and, as a result, hampering the universities from sharing parity of esteem with universities in the developed countries.
He, therefore, asked: “Again, how can our universities rank among the best in the world when the workload of university lecturers remain burdensome with little or no time left to conduct rigorous research?”
“How do we expect to be greatly ranked and respected when some professors are of the impression that they have paid their dues, therefore, rarely appear in departmental academic seminars and grudgingly supervise doctoral students?”
However, he admitted that one of the reasons Nigerian universities will not be ranked high is low salary income of the university lecturers, asking again: “Who will rank us high when the salaries of full time universities teachers cannot support a decent and good lifestyle?”
Citing other problems of low ranking of African universities, he included among others: weak infrastructure and policies; institutional capacity; declining research culture; low-level of town and gown synergy; inadequate training; networking with others in similar areas of specialisation, collaboration through participation in national and international conferences.
Appreciating the standard of universities in developed countries, he opined that the United States, Australia and many countries in Europe and Asia expend hundreds of billions of dollars annually on funding research in academic institutions, as well as research capacity building.
“Research funding is also available through private Foundations, Charities and various Trusts such as the Carnegie Foundations, John and Catherine T.Macarthur Foundations, Wellcome Trust, Bill and Melinda Gate foundation among others,” he stated.
Nonetheless, Professor Adewole said collaborative and individual efforts should be made by Nigerian universities to lobby government for increased research and research capacity building funding.
He added that other sources of research funding such as the industry, corporate bodies and wealthy individuals should also be accessed.
•Photo shows Prof. Adewole.
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