The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, has said Nigerian universities can be the best in Africa, if they can enjoy a stable academic calendar.
Mr Ogundipe, professor, made the observation in an interview on Thursday in Lagos.
The vice-chancellor was reacting to incessant strikes by labour unions in the Nigerian university system.
According to him, there is the need for education stakeholders to effectively manage issues that result in strikes.
“Universities especially the first generation ones in the country can be ranked best in Africa, if we can continue with a stable academic calendar.
“There is need for everyone to look inward to ensure that we are always able to manage crisis in the system so that the country’s universities can be ranked among the best in the world,” Mr Ogundipe said.
He also said that there was the need for the stakeholders to take university administration and related issues more serious.
Mr Ogundipe urged that Nigerian university administration should be done in line with best practices.
“We are talking about global ranking of universities, and here we are, still grappling with issues of strike,” he said.
“An instance is the ongoing strike by the three non-academic staff unions of universities.
“This does not speak well of us as a country because one cannot rule out their relevance in the running of the system.
“As a manager of a university, I know that their strike has an effect on the operations of the institutions,” he said.
The don noted that many facilities for a conducive teaching and learning environment were being handled by the non-academic staff.
“But I am sure that the academic staff would be up to their assignments. This group of staff is not on strike.
“The classrooms are open; as we resumed on December 27, lectures have commenced in most faculties in our university.
“The strike is nationwide and not local; there is little the university on its own can do,” he said.
According to him, the striking unions under the aegis of the Joint Action Committee, JAC, have been reasonable in their conduct.
.“They are on strike, no doubt about that. Nobody has forced them to come to work since the declaration of the strike to the best of my knowledge.
“My message is that there is need for an urgent and continuous dialogue between the striking workers and the Federal Government. Dialogue is key,” he said.
The striking unions, under the aegis of JAC, had on September 11, embarked on a nationwide indefinite strike over the non-implementation of an agreement they entered into in 2009 with the Federal Government.