President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday in Abuja said the federal government would give more attention to improving personnel and infrastructure of universities to produce quality graduates.
Speaking when he received leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) led by Professor Biodun Ogunyemi at the State House, the president said education would, henceforth, be a top priority in development goals of the country.
He said effective and efficient operations of universities will go a long way in improving the economy, especially with focus on science and technology.
The president urged members of ASUU to assist the federal government in realising the target of improved education and credible certificates by complying with ongoing verification and validation of human resources in the universities, which would guarantee optimum output.
“The future of the country depends on quality education and our certificates must be credible to inspire confidence,’’ he said.
The president said constitutional provisions should be carefully studied and adhered to for more harmonious relationships, and standards that would promote efficiency.
He directed the Ministry of Education to put in more effort in ensuring that Nigerian universities are properly funded, with adequate infrastructure and staffing.
In his remarks, President of ASUU, Professor Ogunyemi said the educational sector needed more federal government attention, stressing that implementation of agreements over the years would go a long way in improving the quality of education in the universities.
“Nigerian universities can make meaningful contributions to addressing the challenges of the country (economy, security and corruption) if given the opportunities. Appropriate funding level, competitive conditions of service, university autonomy and academic freedom are critical to creating such an atmosphere.
“With adequate and effective education, particularly university education, Nigerians will be less susceptible to manipulation, our economy will grow and problems of insecurity and corruption will be drastically reduced,’’ he said.
The ASUU President said Nigeria could learn from countries like China, Malaysia and Singapore that have encouraged universities to drive their educational development through tripartite linkages of government, industries and universities called Triple Helix Principle.