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Nigerian varsities should justify existence

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A former vice-chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt and the current pro-chancellor of the Alex Ekwueme University, Emeritus Professor Nimi Briggs, on Monday, called on Nigerian universities to justify their existence by ensuring that capable graduates were produced yearly.

Nimi Briggs spoke in Abuja during the inaugural gown-to-town symposium organised by the University of Port-Harcourt alumni association, Abuja chapter.

Speaking on the existence of universities, he said, “We are reminded that universities are established with great expectations. They are seen as huge assets. It is expected that universities change the environment in which they are in. They are expected to produce manpower, research, identify new ways of doing things, impact the environment in which they find themselves.

“Looking at all these, it is no wonder that universities are currently being challenged to justify their existence. There are ways in which universities can justify their existence. Instead of churning out graduates who end up roaming the streets, we can ensure that graduates are sufficiently endowed. We need to ask ourselves, are we doing the right thing? Are we on the right course ?”.

Also speaking at the event, the chapter president, UNIPort Alumni association, Abuja, Phil Okoroafor, noted that the association decided to convene the gown-to-town symposium in other to enhance the marketplace readiness of graduates of the institution.

“Our gathering today is our first step in the direction of our relevance to our esteemed alma mater, the University of Port Harcourt. Envisioned as an annual event, the ‘Gown to Town’ symposium is designed as our modest contribution to the efforts towards enhancing the marketplace readiness of graduates of our esteemed alma mater.

“Our objective, as expressed in the simplicity of the name we have given the symposium, is to help bridge the gap between academia and industry through programmes that will promote entrepreneurship and creative thinking among our graduates”.

Also speaking at the event, the governorship candidate for Abia state under the Labour Party, Dr Alex Otti decried the poor state of Nigerian universities. Citing the 2022 Times ranking for universities, Otti noted that Nigerian universities were “moving in the wrong direction.”





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