The Vice- Chancellor, Lagos State University (LASU), Prof. Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello, said on Tuesday that available statistics pointed to an urgent need for repositioning of universities.
She spoke at the opening ceremony of the Fourth Research and Development Fair, organised by LASU in Lagos.
The theme of the fair was: “Repositioning The Nigerian University System For Global Relevance and Competitiveness In Learning, Research, Innovation And Technological Transfer”.
Olatunji-Bello said that the theme of the research fair was apt in face of the not-too- impressive showing of Nigerian Universities in recent global rankings.
“According to National Universities Commission (NUC), there are 200 Universities in Nigeria, out of which more than 79 are privately owned, 43 are Federal owned and 48 are state owned.
“In the 2022 webmetrics ranking, there is no single Nigerian University in top 1000 in the world, while the highest ranked is the University of Ibadan at 1207.
“The centre for World University ranking in its 2022 report could not rank any Nigerian University in the first 1000, the highest ranked sits at 1172,” she said.
The vice-chancellor said that in a bid to address this, LASU had, in last few years, intensified its effort in research and innovation.
This, she said, culminated in the creation of the Directorate of Research Management and Innovation.
“The Senate of this university is instituting a five million naira research grant for cutting- edge multidisciplinary researches in the University.
“The directorate is also responsible for reviewing research proposals and ensuring that our academics comply with current ethical consideration.
“We want research to maintain its paramount position in LASU, as it is expected in every world class institution of higher learning,” she said.
At the event, Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals, pledged to build and equip a modern 750-seater lecture theatre for the University.
Orelope-Adefulire said this while delivering her keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the event.
She said that the donation of the lecture theatre was to identify with the ongoing developmental strides in LASU.
“I am always willing and ready to give assistance to the university, both at personal and official levels,” she said.
The presidential aide said there was a need to prioritise inclusive and quality education for all, leaving no one behind.
“My office remains deeply committed to sustaining key partnerships on education to advance the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.
“We are looking forward to seeing the innovative pathways for the education sector that will emerge from this innovation fair,” Orelope-Adefulire said.
She said that qualitative and inclusive education was a crucial tool for achieving sustainable livelihood and economic prosperity for families and societies.
“However, it requires strategic investments through the creation of relevant educational programmes; capacity building for academia; and provision of modern technology to improve access to learning that will improve research.
” Investment in research for universities is crucial, however, as Nigeria was grappling to recover from the 2016 economic recession, the recovery was impacted by the effect of COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is imperative to reduce these barriers if we truly want to reposition the university in Nigeria,” she said.
Orelope-Adefulire said that achieving this required collaborative efforts in a whole of society approach, to enhance innovation and development, among others, in all educational sectors in Nigeria.