The Federal Government has been urged to address the systemic issues affecting the quality of education in the country.

The systemic issues, according to the Chairman of the Supra Diocesan Board (West), Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Revd (Dr) Joseph Akinfenwa, include poor infrastructure, insecurity, poor internet access, among others.

Akinfenwa, who is the Visitor of the Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo, stated this during the conferment of doctor of philosophy and honorary doctorate degrees at the 15th convocation ceremony of the institution on Thursday.

The archbishop lamented that many tertiary institutions in the country cannot boast of a truly international faculty and international student population, adding that these two features, which bring the universe into the university, are made difficult by the larger issues affecting the country.

He said: “Our national economy, signposted by the exchange rate, makes it practically impossible to bring in academics from the developed world to work in our universities, not even for their sabbaticals.

“Not having an international faculty, it becomes hard to proudly or boldly seek international students. Even in programmes where we have an academic edge, it is hard to attract international students because of the larger issues of the international image of our country in the comity of nations.

“It is in the light of this that we urge the government to work hard and fast in the direction of stabilising the economy and projecting a positive image of our nation before the global community.”

He noted that the poor conditions of the country’s education must change, if we desire to become truly international.

“What we are saying is that as Nigeria is addressing the problem of access to tertiary education by opening up the space for other stakeholders to complement government efforts, now is the time to start addressing systemic issues that affect the quality of tertiary education in Nigeria.

“If we address these issues in a holistic and long-term manner, Nigeria can easily become a destination for tertiary education of young people; and this will be a veritable source of forex earnings for our nation. We can do it. Let us do it,” he added.

Speaking in the same vein, the Chancellor of the university, Chief Tunde Afolabi, called on the government and stakeholders to support innovations in the nation’s tertiary education sector, particularly towards the improvement of curriculum design.

“Supporting innovations towards raising the bar in curriculum design, and status checks among academic institutions worldwide and making efforts geared towards contextual analysis and quality assurance in the delivery of academic activities,” he said while proferring a list of solutions to the myriads of challenges facing the education sector in Nigeria.

The Pro-Chancellor of the school, Dr Olutoyin Okeowo, called for donations into the N5 billion Ajayi Crowther University Development Fund to help reposition the school in the areas of physical development and deployment of state-of-the-art facilities among others.

Congratulating the 30 graduands who were conferred with doctor of philosophy degrees in various disciplines, Vice Chancellor of the institution, Professor Timothy Adebayo, urged them to dedicate themselves to continuous learning, adding that “your Ph.D should not be a closure to learning, you should keep applying yourself to reading and learning.”

On the development in the school, Adebayo said: “Just within a short period of its existence, our Department of Nursing has now metamorphosed into a Faculty of Nursing Sciences which now has four independent departments. The four departments are: Paediatric Nursing, Surgical Nursing, Maternal and Child Health Nursing, and Community Health Nursing.

“This development is phenomenal, given that the Department of Nursing has existed only within a short period of time. The expansion is also a good index to the eventual actualization of the grand plan for our College of Medicine, which will soon be realized.”

At the event, the institution also awarded honorary doctorate degrees in finance, science, and business administration to renowed banker and administrator, Sir Gbolahan Olukayode Afolayan; Chief Executive Officer of Katchey Company Limited, Mrs. Kate Isa and founder of SIFAX Group, Mr. Taiwo Afolabi, respectively.