The Vice-Chancellor, Covenant University, Professor Abiodun Adebayo, has said that Nigerian universities require intensive and impactful research, alongside teaching and community service to emerge world-class.
Adebayo said this at a workshop held at the University of Benin, Edo State on Thursday, themed, ‘University Ranking: Experiences of Covenant University,’ organised by the University of Benin’s Centre of Excellence in Reproductive Health Innovation (CERHI).
While making his presentation at the event, the Vice-Chancellor said that universities in Nigeria could not continue to do what they were used to and expect different results.
Covenant University, he said, had long resolved to be doing even what the world-class universities, such as Harvard and Oxford, were not doing; hence its high rating amongst the world’s higher institutions.
“Most universities in Nigeria concentrate on teaching and, perhaps, community service and have left out the area of research.
“Impactful research is almost non-existent in most of the universities,” Adebayo said.
According to him, to secure first ranking in Africa, the university had set a vision of 10:2022, meaning to be among the best 10 in the world by 2022.
He said that although the University of Benin was not doing badly, it would need to improve on its publications, particularly in Q1 and Q2 journals.
Besides teaching, research, and impact, Adebayo identified citation, reputation, international outlook, and industry income as other metrics considered for university ranking across the world.
“You have to go beyond your best to accomplish some of those things. If we want to become world-class universities, beyond classroom teachings, we have to spend extra time to do the research. We must go beyond the kind of civil service work we do.
“The world is a global village and the rankings of universities have really come to stay. Whether or not you wish to be ranked, you will be ranked. It is high time, whether management, staff or students, we worked together to see that we place our universities on the world map, standing at par with other world universities,” he said.
In his remark, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Benin, Professor Lilian Salami, said that the lecture had brought out all the deficiencies as well as the things that the institution was doing right.
“I think the most important thing is that we all have determined that we can do it because he has simplified how we can get to that world-class level. At the University of Benin, we are also proud to be the University of the Universe, but we must match our words with our actions. So, our students and staff; we challenge you to step into the shoes of a digital generation.
“Some of our students are coming up with some innovations that we never thought would happen at the university. We are almost there and we can get there. What is left for us is to be determined, dedicated, and willing to learn. There is no one who is too old to learn,” Salami said.
Speaking with newsmen, Professor Friday Okonofua, Leader, CERHI, said the lecture had opened the University to what it should be doing. We thought that what we needed to do was to rejig the university towards high ranking, for the entire institution to be aware of what the issues are.
“I knew the University Community was not fully aware. That is why I organised this lecture, and we are going to do more, because we want to create awareness. It is only when staff and students are aware of this fact that the university ranking will improve,” Okonofua said.