IN THE NEWS: Akaneran Essien advocates for Quality Tertiary Education in Nigeria
***As Ritman University Holds Maiden Convocation Lecture
……The former Vice Chancellor of the University of Uyo and Guest Lecturer at the maiden convocation lecture of Ritman University, Prof. Akaneran Essien has stated in strong terms that there is need for an intensive overhaul and rebranding of the educational standards in Nigerian tertiary institutions.
Essien said the current challenges and intensifying decline in values and standards of university education in Nigeria and the adverse effects of these on the nation is a strong indicator that the varsities have lost the most cherished virtue of quality, which is a top prerequisite in education and learning.
The Guest Lecturer noted this, today Friday, 29th November, 2019 at the maiden convocation lecture of the Ritman University, Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
Essien, who gave a lecture on the theme: “Reflections on Qualitative University Education in Nigeria,” insisted that qualitative education should be brought into an active state in all Nigerian tertiary institutions, stressing that every university has all it takes to rebrand itself based on best global and ethical practices.
According to him, “Qualitative Tertiary Education is the worth of the inputs into higher education systems, lectures instructional facilities and evaluation procedures which translates to the output.”
The inputs, according to him, determines the quality of academic activities such as teaching, practicals and research, quality of teachers and graduates, values upheld in the Nigerian varsities and intellectual manpower of the nation.
Taking an in-depth look into university education in Nigeria, he explained, “Between 1960 and 1970, Government approved five more universities: University of Nigeria, Obafemi Awolowo University, University of Ife, Ahmadu Bello University, University of Lagos and the University of Benin. These first generation Universities did not have budgetary limitations. Infrastructure was in abundance and there was no restriction in employment policies.
“The quality of academic activities were highly commendable. The quality of staff was good and class size low enough for in-depth lecturer-student interaction. Examination malpractice was extremely rare and the dignity and atmosphere of University examination was a wonderful sight to behold.
“The quality of graduates produced stood the test of time in the public and private sectors.
He further noted that the quality of university education in the mid-80s had begun to take a downward turn owing to the sharp expansion in students’ intake, establishment of more universities with low staff strength, and decline in national resources which led to limited funds allocation.
“The period between late 80s and 1999 could be said to have been the worst. At this period, facilities and other infrastructure were dilapidated needing rehabilitation,” he continued.
Essien who is a member of the Animal Science Association (ASA), pointed out that due to strike actions by staff unions in a bid to draw government attention to the state of the Universities, ASUU for instance, has recorded a total period of 218 weeks of strike actions from 1993-2019.
However, Essien averred that to a larger extent private universities have fared better in terms of academic ranking, patronage and successful operation of the global university academic calendar.
Earlier in his speech, the Chairman on the occasion, Prof. Emmanuel Ating, said the event will ever be a memorial day in the history of the great institution of learning as it has achieved an extraordinary feat.
On his part, Prof. Nsongurua Udombana, the Pro-chancellor of the institution applauded the guest lecturer for passing on redefined knowledge to the audience and for giving governments food for thought.
Mrs. Rita Umoh, the Dean of Students, while lauding Prof Essien, thanked God for the successful hosting of the maiden convocation lecture of the institution.
She used the opportunity to invite all to the first ever convocation ceremony of the institution billed for tomorrow, Saturday.
Highpoint of the event was presentation of Awards of
Excellence to the former Vice Chancellor of the University of Uyo, Prof Akaneran Essien and the Chairman on the occasion, Prof. Emmanuel Ating.
Amongst dignitaries present at the event were: Prof. Celestine Ntuen, Prof. Comfort Ekpo, Engr. Etido Inyang; Prof. Godfrey Udo, Engr. J. B. Effiong, Prof. Mrs Florence Orabueze, Prof. C. A. Igwe, Prof. Ukana Akpabio, Prof. Essien Udosen, Dr Edu Inam, Dr Udo Udo-Aka, Dr Ime Ebensa FCASN, Elder Christopher Ntuk, Dr Mrs Margaret Ntuk, Mrs Faith Emmanuel, Mr. Damian Umofia, Dr Saliu.