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Former President Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday decried the rot in the nation’s universities, saying some have become breeding grounds for cultism and social vices.
Jonathan, who spoke at a convocation lecture at the Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu, described the development as unfortunate, adding “this is a major burden to civilisation and social transformation.”
While calling for an urgent overhaul of the nation’s educational system, Jonathan said universities, as institutions of learning, were designed to build young people to fit into their societies.
He said, “The priority is the issue of morals. Universities should not create criminals.
“As a nation, therefore, we must never be weary of prioritising education, especially the type that is anchored on ethics and innovation, because it is the path towards a secure future and sustainable peace.”
He added, “Education is of no essence if it does not place a high premium on productivity as well as the character of the citizen.
“It is a sad development for our educational system that our students, lecturers, and other members of the university community can no longer move freely in campuses without fear. In our days, students didn’t have to bother about their safety while on campus at any time of day. This is no longer the case. No nation can develop if it does not find answers to such an unfortunate state of affairs in an environment where we groom our future leaders.
“It is apt to say that character which is manifested in the virtues of honesty, integrity and courage, is the strength of education. A society profits more when the recipients of knowledge are led by these traits to positively influence their environment,” he explained.
The former president who did not spare the academia for the nation’s woes, stated that in advanced countries, the academia played a pivotal role in nation building and good governance.
He described as dangerous for members of the academia to get involved in election malpractice because of its wider implication on the future of the country.
“Once the youth corps members observe these lecturers and professors who they hold in high esteem attempt to change or falsify elections results, they might begin to see such criminality as the new norm in our country.
“Let me use this opportunity to appeal to members of the academia that get recruited for election duties to do the right thing and not compromise their integrity, no matter the pressure on them.”
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