‘Nigerian students have become globally less competitive’

Jacob Kehinde Olupona, has lamented the inability of Nigerian students to compete globally with their colleagues.

A Professor of African Religious Traditions at the Harvard University, Jacob Kehinde Olupona, has lamented the inability of Nigerian students to compete globally with their colleagues.

While noting that the country’s culture of learning is inappropriate to what is obtainable across the world, he said university teachers in the country lack the needed resources to teach the students.

He identified the lack of basic learning tools and conducive environment as the underlying factors, adding that the students are not effectively engaged with the practices that are considered to be global.

He said: “Part of the issue is that there is a serious problem with education, but some of us have come to the conclusion that we are not going to get ourselves involved in the politics of education in this country.

“Rather, we want to see how we can do our best to help the students, because the politics is not favourable to them, it has made the brilliant, up and coming Nigerians to look like folks who don’t know anything.

“We have become so local that when people start to ask why Nigeria is not part of the list of first hundred universities in ranking, we keep deceiving ourselves by saying all kinds of things.”

The professor of African and African American Studies at the university’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences lamented the gross underfunding of the education sector by successive governments, which has created a big gap between Nigerian students and their counterparts across the world.

According to him: “Most of the private universities are struggling, some do not have lecturers, while some were established by entrepreneurs for the purpose of making money.

“We are equating buildings with intellectual academic pursuits, but they are two different things. When former President Goodluck Jonathan had his education summit few years ago, I recommended that we should adopt the American system. It is a liberal arts approach, which focuses on undergraduate education, which is less cumbersome than the heavy-duty investment we make in our universities.”



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