Bayelsa State Receives Approval for a Medical University

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By Chika Onyesi
 Prof. Abubakar Rasheed of NUC and Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson at BMU approval ceremony
The National Universities Commission has approved the establishment of a second public medical university in Nigeria, the Bayelsa Medical University
Approved for the Bayelsa State government, the latest university now brings to 49 the number of state owned universities in Nigeria
The Bayelsa Medical University, (BMU) is a specialised university in the medical sciences established to bridge the gap in educational reforms in Bayelsa State.
The new Medical University is the third University to be funded and managed by the Bayelsa State government.
 
The Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof Abubakar Rasheed says the approval of the specialised medical university is part of efforts to reinvent and improve university education in Nigeria.
He says the move is to ensure that higher institutions in Nigeria uphold the essence of universality, which is what university education is all about.
According to Prof. Rasheed, Nigerian universities are currently rated poorly globally because they lack universal appeal and character.
He lamented a situation where university management bicker over positions while tribal and political sentiments take precedence over quality and credibility in key appointments.
He said unless universities take steps to broaden their horizon, bring in the essence of the universe and employ intellectuals irrespective of their race or culture, it will continue to rank poorly globally. 
‘‘What is unfortunate is that many of our universities are losing that character and appeal to be classified as one, we as regulators, we are disappointed when we see people fighting over where the Vice Chancellor should come from, either from the host community or a particular tribe, all these were alien to the system in the past, but it has become an ugly trend now,” he said
 “Over the years, we have realized that we have to re-invent our universities, we have to open up our universities to different cultures, traditions and people that way we can be ranked higher.
“An ideal university should be a situation where teachers and students can interact freely to expand knowledge, boost education and by extension helping to solve national problems.
 “More often than not, ranking reputation is built when there is a general consensus that an institution is good and its living up to expectations.
Meanwhile the Bayelsa State governor, Seriake Dickson, who was on hand to submit guidelines for the new institution said the state government, has made significant investment in education to reverse the trend of militancy and unemployment in the state.
‘‘If we do not build more schools then we will end up building more prisons and cemeteries for youths who will be misguided’’ he says
Governor Dickson however criticised the sentiments over tuition fees in higher institutions in Nigeria, stressing that poor tuition and funding has resulted in poor output in most universities.
He said if wealthy Nigerians can send their children to private schools or schools abroad where fees are paid in dollars, they should brace up to pay higher fees when quality education is provided back home.
“Nigerian universities cannot afford the luxury of being cheaper than nursery and primary schools; it is the fault of the leadership of the country. These are the same people who are sending their wards to school abroad and paying ten times higher, we mix politics with funding the universities, and the universities are dying.
“Our children go to Ghana, they pay fees in dollars, we have established the University of Africa in Bayelsa, let people from Africa come and acquire knowledge here and pay’’.
At its peak, the Bayelsa Medical University is expected to take only about 2000 qualified students; it will also function purely as a specialised university for the medical sciences.

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