Nigeria needs over N2.5tr yearly for quality education, says Babalakin

Dr. Wale Babalakin

Pro-chancellor of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Dr. Wale Babalakin (SAN) has said Nigeria needs over N2.5trillion yearly to provide quality education at all levels.

Babalakin spoke at the weekend during a Fund Raising Dinner organised by the Alumni of the College of Medicine.

The lawyer and businessman, who was the chairman of the occasion, explained that the government does not have enough resources to adequately fund first class education, adding that other sources of funding must be explored.

Babalakin said: “The College of Medicine, UNILAG, is a very good product to celebrate. But to keep the flag flying, to maintain the standards, we need substantial funding. Government alone cannot afford to fund education.

“To have quality education in Nigeria today at all levels, it requires between N2.5t per year. That is close to 50 per cent of total receipts of monies coming to this system, yet we cannot delay the funding of education.

The pro-chancellor stressed that the country cannot also give low quality education because there is no money, so we must look at all sources.

“We must look at governmental sources, private sources and every other source to achieve the objective of funding a first class educational system.

“We have all it takes in terms of personnel and basic infrastructure. What we require is substantial funding. I look forward to a day when Nigerian universities will be sufficiently robust financially; a day when government funding will only be, at best, an addition,” he said.

Babalakin reminded the guests of the good old days when the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, was one of the top five hospitals in the Commonwealth, which includes England, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Canada.

“Let’s have what we had as UNILAG students in 1978. About 20 per cent of our law class did their A-levels abroad and came back to UNILAG to read law. That was how great the faculty was.

Now you have so many people who think that unless they’ve gone abroad, they’ve not started education.”

Provost of the College, Prof. F.E. Lesi, said the school had pioneered many great innovations, but its major challenge was funding. He explained that funding was needed for capital projects and maintenance of facilities.

At the event were philanthropist and businessman Chief Adebutu Kessington and his wife; Chief Olu Okeowo and his wife; the Olugbo of Ugboland, Oba Obateru Akinruntan and his wife; the Ajalorun of Ijebu-Ife, Oba Adesesan Oguntayo; Providus Bank Managing Director, Mr. Walter Akpani, and his wife/Managing Director, Northwest Petroleum & Gas Company, Mrs. Winifred Akpani, among others.

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