Whenever the ranking for the world's best universities is made public, we don't expect to see any Nigerian university among the best. A lot of rot have taken its toll on our educational system, that I need not dwell on that.
The problem with our universities, and possibly other tertiary institutions is not necessarily a dearth of infrastructure, but the mediocrity that characterizes the employment of academic staff, as well as the awarding of degrees and other certificates to undeserving recipients. Gone are the days we had quality lecturers who mesmerized students and knock them into quality finished products. Now we have misfits and academically bankrupt individuals masquerading as lecturers. Our tertiary institutions have been turned to business centres, where the highest bidders take it all. Why won't we keep producing half-baked graduates when our university system is filled with mediocres and barely-baked 'lecturers'?
However, that is not to say that all who studied abroad know their onion. A lot of them still return to the country, bereft of ideas in their respective discipline. There are equally a handful of our home grown graduates who can hold their own, but I think it is more of personal efforts than tutelage.
The main reason why people are so obsessed with studying abroad still boils down to the 'oyinbo' mentality (which contributes to brain drain) , not necessarily because of the comatose state of our educational system. What prevents us from staying behind and remedying whatever is wrong with our system?
The obvious preferential treatment and reverence accorded graduates of foreign universities in Nigeria is very sickening and unfortunate. It is believed that certificates obtained abroad are more credible than those obtained from indigenous universities. No wonder such graduates never cease to display their “uniqueness” at any slightest chance. An uncle of mine always feel on top of the world enumerating his academic exploits abroad,” …. B.A ( London )B.Sc ( Toronto ), M.A (Geneva), M.Sc ( New York), Ph.D ( Texas )” to the admiration of anyone that cared to listen. These graduates are given choice appointments, preferred for juicy employment as well as reverred and worshipped in our society as “imported”. But are these groups of people really superior to our home grown graduates?
In as much as our educational system is far from being up to standard with that of the Western world, we need to recognize the fact that products of indigenous universities have been able to hold their own in the community, locally and internationally. The Achebes, Soyinkas, Soludos, to mention but a few are all home grown products.
It has to be noted that the craze to study in foreign universities has encouraged certificate forgery among unscrupulous Nigerians. The case of a former speaker, Federal House of Representatives who claimed to have studied at The university of Toronto Canada but was discovered to be false is a case in point. Another example is a former governorship aspirant in a South Eastern State who claimed to have studied medicine in an American university but could barely communicate in correct English. This is a source of discouragement to our home bred graduates as they sometimes feel “inferior” to these “achievers.”
On the other hand, some of these foreign universities award doctorate degrees recklessly and to undeserving persons. A clown once noted that such universities “have turned into an open market where the highest bidder takes it all.”
As every man is the architect of his own future, it is obvious that the school we attend has very little to contribute to our academic excellence. The bourgeoisie may always be ready to splash out millions and send their wards overseas, those who cannot should make the very best of our indigenous academic institutions.