Renewed Hope Agenda: U.S.-based don calls for devolution of tertiary institutions

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Washington D.C, USA.

A U.S.-based Nigerian professor of history, Hakeem Tijani, has advised the Federal Government to deregulate tertiary education, so it could be managed by the states or private individuals.

Tijani who said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Washington D.C, appealed to President Bola Tinubu to make education a priority in his Renewed Hope Agenda.

He said this would relieve the federal government of the financial burden of running the institutions as well as enhance their efficiency.

The don, the Executive Director, Office of Global Partnerships-Africa, Morgan State University, Maryland, said that Nigeria’s federal system “s too expensive”.

“Our federalism as we practice it is expensive in terms of federal government engaging in tertiary institutions.

“Perhaps devolution or what we call the decolonisation whereby all federal colleges of education, universities, and polytechnics are given to the state will help.

“The government can also outsource them to private individuals,” he said.

Tijani said that the money voted yearly for social enterprise could be added to what was given to the states or to individuals with private institutions.

He also urged the federal government to focus on promoting humanities in the tertiary institutions in addition to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).

He said that focusing on STEM alone would not make the country achieve the level of development it desired, adding that humanities should be added to STEM to make it STEMH.

“Aside from the simplistic way of looking at art, look at the various artists, look at tourism, you can never be a good scientist if you don’t have a sense of history,’’ he said.

He also told NAN that the Renewed Hope Agenda of the current administration was a call to all Nigerians to rethink their contributions to the system.

“The idea of hope is not just a say, the idea of hope is a belief in the system, and the first thing Nigerians will have to take home is to re-orient themselves.

“The current government cannot be blamed for everything. Neither should we blame the previous government for everything.

“For instance, we must do self-assessment as head of a department, as a teacher, as whatever you place to be the superintendent over. What have you done? How have you handled it?

“So, leadership is not about the ‘oga’ at the very top. Leadership is about us. So, the idea of hope is to re-energise us to help us re-thinking about that philosophy, that concept of hope that when we are hopeful, the future is bright,’’ he added.

The don said that as an orphan in 1971, he was hopeful and determined to further his education after primary school, and this he did by doing odd jobs to support himself.

“The idea of hope should not be predicated on just saying it. It must be something that we must model as a leader, top leader, and middle leader across the ladder.

“It is good to be hopeful. It is ideal to have that as a mantra but having said that, education is the key. I’m not talking about formal. It can be both formal and informal,” he said. 

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