OKOGIE: Our Education Should Include Morality, Spirituality And Academics



Continued From Last Week

Anthony Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie is the Emeritus Archbishop of the Metropolitan See of the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos. He was the founder of the soon to commence Augustine University, Ilara, Epe, Lagos State. In this interview with KENECHUKWU EZEONYEJIAKU during an inspection of the school to ascertain its level or preparedness for commencement of academic activities, the Cardinal bared his mind on the deteriorating standard of education in the country, a situation which he noted was what necessitated the establishment of the institution; to offer a holistic education.

In terms of lecturers and other staff members of the institution, there is this general notion that those that are good enough are probably, already employed and those who are left are not good enough and those are the people that the private institutions engage. What is your take on this as regards this institution?
You see, I go back to the NUC. These are the things that the body should know. If you don’t man it from the beginning, it fails. Some of these lecturers, even some professors, they lecture in about three or four universities. They have to check all these. Then, there are some of them who do little or nothing, they just believe in handout. They go to the classrooms, and tell the students to buy these materials that everything is in there because they want to make money; they are rushing for time in order to go somewhere else. This is wrong. To me, I believe that they are just depriving the youths of their time. It’s stealing. It’s not fair. You see, they have paid for this time; the lecturers have been employed to work and render services to these youths.

These are the things I would expect the NUC to look into. Don’t start running from Augustine University to Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) or to another university; for what? What if you die on the road, not to talk of the children that you are punishing indirectly? These are the things that they should sit down and tailor out properly. What they are just interested in is ‘How many professors have you here? How many lecturers do you have here? What are the… ok, it has been approved.’

What are the qualities you feel the President should look out for when picking a minster for education?
In the first place, he must be an educationist. For example, if you want to work in any of Lagos State’s schools, the very first thing they ask is ‘have you done education?’ So, if you haven’t done education, with your B.Sc., B.A, and so on, if there is no education there, nothing for you.

I am sure he has something in his head that he is going to look for. Let’s not forget that he has advisers and these are the people that will tell him these and that and they are the people, just like the past President, Goodluck Jonathan, I warned him when he was still the Vice President, “you are not going to rule, your advisers are going to rule; I call them sycophants, but they are going to rule. If he had borrowed a leaf from that, probably he will still be there today.
What sort of accommodation do you have for its students?

To the best of my knowledge, we have provided for now, accommodation for 500 students. And if there is intake more than the provided accommodations, we will take care of it.

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