Officers: Legal luminary Yusuf Ali advocates total autonomy for Nigerian varsities


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Mallam Yusuf Olaolu-Ali, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has advocated for total autonomy of varsities on matters of appointment and selection of key principal officers.

Olaolu-Ali made that call during his Convocation Lecture as part of activities for the 36th Convocation Ceremonies of the University of Ilorin, entitled: “Tertiary education and the future of Nigeria”.

He opined that the autonomy of universities should be enhanced to help reduce the extent of political interference especially in the appointment of key administrators.

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He said: “The councils should be free to choose without the influence of the visitor, who becomes the Vice-Chancellor.

“Where this is not so, as often as it is not from experience, the  governance of the system will still depend on external influence.”

According to him, the place of school head in the administration of any school cannot be over emphasised, therefore, there is need to follow the conditions for the appointment to the latter.

“The issues of tribalism, political interference, should be disregarded in the appointment of heads.

“The idea of using visitation panels to witchunt Vice Chancellor and university authorities should be discarded,” he said.

He recommended that visitation panels should be made to follow the due process and the core of their recommendations assiduously and objectively implemented.

The expert in Law also advised the Federal Government to release more funds to the universities so that they can be more effective in their day-to-day operations.

He called on the government to abide by the 26 per cent annual budgetary allocation prescribed for the educational sector by UNESCO, noting that it will help change the face of education in the country.

“The universities should also seek alternative sources of revenue generation to augment what the government allocates to them.

“Apart from the release of fund, there is the dire need for an effective monitoring of the management of funds presently being allocated to the sector, as afforts should be intensified to improve on what is currently being allocated to the system.”

Olaolu-Ali observed that Nigerian parents must stop the hypocrisy when it comes to paying for the education of their children.

According to him, parents that paid for thousands of Naira for their wards in private secondary schools should be prepared to pay tuition in the universities.

The expert in Law also appealed for the intervention of public spirited persons, adding that there is need to educate donors and well meaning members of the society to give to higher institutions.

He also charged universities in the country to intensify their academic research in order to advance the quality of knowledge being imparted on the students. (NAN)


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