Ajayi Crowther varsity targets place among world best universities

The Pro-Chancellor and chairman of Ajayi Crowther University, (ACU) governing council, Dr. Olutoyin Okeowo, says the university is in the process of repositioning itself to earn a place among the best 1000 universities in the world.

Speaking on Monday at a retreat organized by the institution after the inauguration of the new governing council at the school’s premises in Oyo, Okeowo said part of the process is the complete digitalization of the school’s various organs to make it accessible to the global community.

Okeowo said, “This retreat will give us the opportunity to build on the strong foundation laid by the previous council. It will also serve as an avenue to reposition the university among the best 1000 universities in the world within the next two to three years. Forty years ago, Nigerian universities were among the best 50 universities in the world.

“But over the past 35 years, Nigeria has lost the glory in the education sector and positions among the best university ranking in the world. Unfortunately, this reality has resulted in the loss of human capital, a dearth of skill, low capacity utilization, high unemployment, and a high level of poverty.

“Twenty years ago, India was in this position but with the right intervention and huge investment in education, the country was able to get out of poverty. If we have the right leadership, we can also achieve that in this country.

“I am convinced that ACU, given the caliber of the present council members, can achieve sustainable change and impact in the educational system. Between 2002 and 2005, we were processing a license for the university, the National University Commission invited us to Abuja and made it clear that government can no longer do it alone and that it is relying on private institutions to support education in the country.”

Okeowo added that the retreat will help to identify the challenges of the school and address them as well as establish a bond between the council and the school management.

The chairman stated that to aid full digitalization of the school system, the council will ensure that every student has a laptop computer.

“We cannot talk about digital transformation without having the necessary tool to work with. This will aid the student learning experience which is the sole objective of the university and position the school as a research-based institution,” Okeowo added.

While addressing the issue of attracting research grants to the school, Okeowo said ACU will partner with members of the Anglican Communion who have demonstrated their willingness to offer assistance.

“Apart from this, there is a legacy fund of N3bn from the church. Members of the church who believe in the school project want to tax themselves and raise the amount towards the development of the university so that we can have the best environment for our students and staff to thrive,” he said.

The Vice-Chancellor of the school, Prof Timothy Adebayo, said at the retreat that the school management will prioritize digitalization of the school system, adding that during the tenure of the past council, the school was able to break even financially.

He said, “In 2020, we generated about ₦2bn and in 2021, it grew to ₦2.5bn. Last year, the school made about ₦3.5bn. This is due to the good work of the past council and we hope to move forward under the new council.”

While commending the new council for organizing the retreat, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof Olumuyiwa Popoola, said the demonstration of the new council to reposition the school for immediate growth is a welcome development, especially with the unfavourable position of Nigeria’s education sector. He stated that the school alumni also must come together to play a role in its development.