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Nigeria’s education sector needs improved funding, books, journals, fellowships at higher level—Prof Okome

       …encourages graduate students on purposeful study culture
L-R: Professors Mojubaolu Okome, Abosede George and Oyeronke Oyewunmi at the 4th Annual Lagos Studies Association Conference, University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos from June 25- June 29th, 2019.

A Nigerian-born Professor of Political Science, African and Women Studies
at the Brooklyn College, New York, Mojubaolu Okome, is advocating improvement in the quality of Nigerian Universities, particularly in funding, well-stocked
libraries with relevant books and journals as well as access to fellowship programmes
for graduate students.

Prof. Okome who spoke on the side-lines of the fourth annual Lagos Studies
Association(LSA) which held at the University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos, said that
contrary to insinuations,  Nigerians read and had at various times showcased
excellent academic performances at international fora.

She, however, noted that the students at the University level studied under
very harsh conditions where they lacked most basic learning materials like
latest prescribed textbooks and journals.
Okome also said that most students may find it difficult to cover reading
lists, considering the fact that they have to battle with the problems of unstable
electricity supply, water shortages and having to work to earn money for
school.   
She said: “I don’t believe that Nigerians don’t read. I think that
circumstances in Nigeria are very difficult, thus making it harder for people
to devote time to purely academic endeavours.
“First of all, there is the fact that you don’t have electricity supply
all the time. Second, nowadays if you want to do research you need the
internet, and being able to afford being connected all the time is an expensive
venture. When you are connected, the connectivity may just keep fluctuating. I
think we have to take that into consideration.

“If you are in North America, the issue of electricity, the
infrastructure, travel, and the comfort of the location where you are doing
your study are helpful to ease of education.”
She urged the government to see the present situation in the sector as one
of crisis that needs immediate attention, as she recalled the quality of
leaning materials and environment she studied in at the University of Ibadan
back in 1979.

She said: “If we are serious about education we need to really work on
this. It is not just the efforts of the individual now, but that of the
government, in terms of policy and budget to education, and then our
educational institutions need to up their game.
“We need to begin to show that we are conscious that we are in a
competitive international environment. I want to see Nigerian institutions of
learning at the top, at least in Africa. I want my colleagues to give more in
terms of preparing students to compete where ever they are in the world, which
is  not just about money only.
“Structurally, the issues of books, journals should be sorted out. Then,
I will advise that even within these constraints, people should invest in their
personal development.”
Okome advised students on the need for self-development in spite of the
problems.
She believes that graduate student especially, should set educational
goals for themselves and strategically pursue same to achievement by cultivating
a sound reading culture and taking opportunity of fellowships in other
universities.

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