Chief Afe Babalola, Founder Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD) has therefore implored the Federal Government of Nigeria to speed up with the negotiations with the Academic Staff Union of Universities who are currently on strike to ensure everything is resolved and schools re-open fully.
On his opinion, all private universities are ready and doubt the readiness of public schools.
The founder of ABUAD said the current pandemic exposed the public institutions lack of preparations in areas of infrastructure, underfunding, inefficiency and corruption which ASUU had already documented and published.
“This is in sharp contrast to what obtains in private universities most of which are reputed for their moral and physical discipline, quality and functional education, hygienic and safe environment, predictable academic calendar, absence of unionism, committed teachers, modern teaching equipment and laboratories as well as adequate preparation to prevent COVID-19.” Babalola said.
He then said private institutions are ready to re-open their schools and have written to the National Universities Commission to verify their plans to comply with the COVID-19 guidelines.
“I suggest that the NUC, Ministry of Education and Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 should advise the Federal Government on the danger of lumping public and private universities together when considering whether or not to allow universities to reopen.”
“Many of the private universities have full residential facilities for both their staff and students. This makes it possible for teachers in private universities to mentor and monitor their students day and night. Some private universities even have lectures in the night while some have state-of-the-art teaching hospitals and well equipped medical centres.” He further said.
He then challenged the FG and other stakeholders to be more intentional and work towards providing the necessary resources public institutions needs to be on the same standard with the private universities.
“Government should adequately fund education so that teachers can be well paid while infrastructure, teaching aids, and research grants will be readily available for them. It is trite to note that no nation develops without a sound educational system and the foundation is really not in primary school. It is the university level education because it is the university that trains other levels.
“It is the university that provides the manpower for other levels of education and that is why you must concentrate efforts on university education. If you don’t do that, other levels of education will suffer and that is what has been happening in Nigeria.” Afe Babalola said.