By Celestine Ajayi
Prof. Stephen Afolami, Vice-Chancellor, Augustine University, Epe in Lagos State, has identified overpopulation of students as a major challenge facing university education in Nigeria.
Afolami made this known on Wednesday in a lecture at the 2019/2020 Matriculation of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), in Abeokuta.
He said that no public university was able to provide all its students’ needs with the comfort of a campus accommodation.
Afolami said, “where it was provided, overcrowded conditions rub the subscribers of the benefits expected to be derived from the facility.”
He added that overcrowding was a consequence of the pressure put on the university authorities to admit as many students as the quotas imposed by the government.
“The campus life, when properly set up with the cultural nuances that go with academics, lends a hand in shaping and forming those who pass through it.
“It is also the result of the dire need to generate internal revenue.
“These impositions cause a dislocation on the system and prevent students from benefitting optimally from the education,” the vice-chancellor said.
He said that government should bear part of the cost of producing every graduate and should not be left on the shoulders of the university authorities alone.
“Everywhere in the world, every university that trains a citizen takes something from the government for the training of that student,” he said.
Afolami congratulated the new students, urging them to avoid the temptation of delaying the beginning of serious work till the second semester.
The vice-chancellor said that it was always “a very regrettable mistake that new students make year in year out”.
He also advised them to shun various vices that could jeopardise their admission.
Earlier, Prof. Felix Salako, Vice-Chancellor of FUNAAB, urged the students to shy away from any destructive action in the name of unionism, but should rather engage in dialogue.
Salako enjoined them to strive not to compromise excellence at all times, but should avail themselves of the various programmes and events provided by the university.
4, 215 students were offered provisional admission, while 4,087 were registered for the matriculation.