‘Mentors are disappearing from Nigerian universities’

Prolific poet, dramatist and literary critic, Prof. Niyi Osundare, has said one of the reasons for the falling standards in Nigeria’s educational system is the dearth of mentors for students to look up to.

Niyi Osundare

Prolific poet, dramatist and literary critic, Prof. Niyi Osundare, has said one of the reasons for the falling standards in Nigeria’s educational system is the dearth of mentors for students to look up to.

Osundare, a Professor of English at the University of New Orleans, USA, said this in Ibadan at a luncheon organized the conferment of a Nigerian National Order of Merit award on him.

“I consider myself lucky because we had mentors to look up to in my university day,” Osundare said.

“Today, mentors are disappearing from our universities. This is why our education is where it is today.

He said there were great mentors to look up to when he was a student, a situation which aided his decision to choose the teaching profession.

“We liked what we saw in great mentors like Prof. Wole Soyinka, Emeritus Prof. Ayo Banjo, Prof. Dapo Adelugba and so on.

“We wanted to be like them but such urge is lacking today because mentors are disappearing. It is what I gained from them that I emulate.”

According to him, the present system is unfair to the students.

“The system cheats the students,” he added.

“The standards have collapsed and there is proliferation in our country today but the graduates’ quality is low.

“I once told a journalist that if I were to be a student in Nigeria of today with the fallen standard, I would not have achieved what I achieved today.

Osundare earned degrees at the University of Ibadan, the University of Leeds and York University, Canada.

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