Chief Afe Babalola, Founder, Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, (ABUAD) has blamed the decay in the education sector for the various challenges confronting the nation.
Babalola made the assertion in Ado-Ekiti on Wednesday when he received the Executives of Bursars’ Association of Polytechnics and Colleges of Technology (BURSCON) and that of the Federal Government’s Gas Expansion Committee.
The ABUAD founder said that the slide in quality of education had negative effect on the growth, progress of Nigeria’s socio-economic development.
According to him, that was why after turning down ministerial appointments thrice, I agreed to go to University of Lagos as Pro Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council.
“That is where I had an insight into what was happening to our education system.
“At times, they used to close down the schools under the guise of strike action for almost a year, this is criminal.
“I want to be an example of a leader committed to the transformation of education and that was why I established ABUAD.
“Added to the foregoing was also our leaders who are very selfish.
“There are many Nigerians that are expected to set up a university like this to give functional education to Nigerians at affordable fees, but they never did,” he said.
Babalola described the position of Bursar in any institution as strategic, urging the financial administrators to commit themselves to transparency in the management of finances in their respective institutions.
“I want you to be committed to financial discipline, but the problem has been that some want to be Bursars to steal, because money is there.
“Government is not doing enough to fund education. UNESCO directed governments to set aside 26 per cent to fund education, but what have they done?
“During the Western region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo set aside 22 per cent, military came and reduced to nothing; Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999 budgeted 12 per cent and now just six per cent.
“Looking at all these, we are not serious with education in this country.
What are we doing about endowments? We must set up endowments in our schools.
“Endowment is main source of funding for universities. If you check American universities, they are being majorly funded through endowments,”Babalola said.
Earlier, Chief Adolphus Obi, the BURSCON President, and leader of the FG’s Gas Expansion Committee, Dr. Mohammed Ibrahim, applauded Babalola for laying a solid foundation for the growth of education in Nigeria.
Obi, who decried poor funding of polytechnic education, said this was responsible for the slow pace of technological development in Nigeria.