The Chairman, Committee of Pro-chancellors of Nigeria, Dr. Wale Babalakin, has said that there is high cash flight of about N160bn from Nigeria to Ghana annually as the cost of university education of about 75,000 Nigerian students schooling in Ghana.
Babalakin stated that Nigerians also spend huge amounts for the education of their children or wards in other countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Malaysia.
He stated that Nigeria’s budget for education in 2011 was not up to N160bn indicating that Nigerians spent more in Ghanaian universities in 2011 than the Federal Government spent on education the same year.
Speaking during the first Leading Light award presentation of the University of Ilorin Alumni Association in Ilorin on Friday, Babalakin said 75,000 students is the size of about three Nigerian universities.
He also recalled that in 1975, four Nigerian universities were rated among the top 20 in Africa but today the leading university of the country is not within the best 10 in Africa.
Babalakin, who was the chaired the occasion, said university education in Nigeria was at a crossroad and called on intellectuals to fashion out strategies to overcome the challenges facing the sector.
He added that there was the need to grant universities more autonomy to enhance their operational efficiency. He also called on other stakeholders to complement government’s investments in education.
“Let us show that we love Nigeria. Let us reform education substantially. If we have educated society, most of the ills of the society will reduce dramatically. It has been shown that there is a direct relationship between the quality of education and the welfare of the society. If you create a well educated society, you end up creating a lovely society and you end up creating a society of great value” he said.
The guest lecture, Prof. Olufemi Durosaro said universities are under great pressure to ensure they operate on world-class standard. Durosaro said it implies greater needs in the areas of funds, personnel and other facilities and urged stakeholders in education, particularly the alumni of institutions to find a way of intervening to help in the development of their alma mater.
He also said universities in Nigeria should strive to become centres of excellence in order to produce employable graduates who can think critically, reflectively, discern between doubts and dogma, facts and fallacies.