Eminent writer and poet, Prof. Niyi Osundare has raised alarm over the dearth of mentors in the nation’s tertiary institutions. This according to Osundare who is currently a Professor of English at the University of New Orleans, USA was responsible for the fallen standard in the educational system.
The eminent writer spoke in Ibadan at a luncheon organised by the Chairman of Kakanfo Inn, Dr Lekan Are and his wife, Olabisi, to celebrate the poet’s conferment with the Nigerian National Order of Merit award. He said, “I consider myself lucky because we had mentors to look up to in my university days. Today, mentors are disappearing from our universities. This is why our education is where it is today. When I graduated from the University of Ibadan, various jobs were waiting for us but some of us decided to be teachers. This is because the standard was okay. 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.”
While deploring the fallen educational standard, Osundare appealed to university teachers to take up the challenge and impact qualitative knowledge on students. “The system cheats the students. 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. Nigeria and the system in those days helped me to develop. That was when the education structure recognised the best and encouraged others to move up the ladder”, he said