Pro–Chancellor of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Dr.Wale Babalakin (SAN), has urged academics to return to the academia and that universities are not dumping grounds.
Babalakin said this, yesterday, at UNILAG’s 50th Convocation ceremony, where he said he believed strongly that the most important area in any nation’s development is the quality of its education because that is where training happens and leaders are produced.
He explained that no effort must be spared in improving the educational system, noting that the time had come to create an environment that would attract the best scholars to universities and this can be done by enhancing the remuneration of teachers.
Remembering with nostalgia the time when UNILAG was full of scholars, including the late Prof. Teslim Elias; Prof. Clifford Olawoye; Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo; the late Prof. Adeyemo Elebute; Prof. Alexander Eyimofe Boyo; the late Prof. Akin Adesola; Dr. Sunny Kuku; the late Prof. Ayodele Awojobi; Prof. V.O.S. Olunloyo; Prof. Oye Ibidapo-Obe and Prof. Ifedayo Oladapo, who made the university stand out, Babalakin added: “We must put an end to those who come here because they have no other option.
“This is a citadel of learning and we must achieve this goal. It will be tough and there will be resistance, but that is the only way out. Universities must be driven by merit. Only academics should find themselves in the academia. We must create an environment that would attract the best scholars.”
The lawyer said while he believed that education should be substantially free, to the extent that a nation can afford it, “if we had to choose between quality education and free education, we must choose quality education.
“We cannot afford to wait until we have the resources to support quality education, so, I support government’s position that government alone cannot fund education. It has to be funded by all stakeholders in the country.
“We must have universities that can attract the best academics and the universities should have the resources to keep those academics.”