President Muhammadu Buhari has said universities must maintain a certain level of stability with uninterrupted academic activities, if the overall objectives of attaining national developments were to be achieved.
Buhari who stated this in his Visitor’s Address at the 24th Convocation ceremony of the University of Abuja last Saturday also said that the task of overcoming the problems of the education sector was not a function and responsibility of government alone.
The President who was represented by the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Abubakar Adamu Rasheed emphasized that the challenges facing Education should be confronted through a concerted effort of government, parents, stakeholders and the entire society.
He said that no nation had achieved appreciable socio-economic development without tangible transformation of its education system. “In view of this national perception, education will continue to be a high priority item in my government’s drive towards transforming the economy”.
He reiterated that government would continue to provide Nigerians equal and massive access to education at all levels such that they could fulfill their dream of participating in the nation’s socio-economic development and empowerment for the youth.
According to the President, Government would continue in its determination to improve the deteriorating infrastructural facilities in the universities, teacher development and curriculum review, in tandem with the needs of the larger society.
He said this was expected, in the long run, to address deficiencies in all the segments of the nation’s educational system, stressing that government’s objective in the renewed drive to reinvigorate the education sector was to generate in the citizenry the spirit of creativity and entrepreneurship which would ultimately galvanize the drive towards self employment.
He further stated that for education system to serve the citizens with utmost efficiency and competence, it must be dynamic and amenable to the nation’s developmental needs.
He said that the country’s educational curriculum must focus on the development of entrepreneurial skills of the individuals which would ultimately impact greatly on efforts to generate employment and reduce the high rate of poverty, the main cause of all incidence of social deviance in the land.
The President assured the graduands that the Federal Government would continue to explore all avenues of addressing youth unemployment and also redouble its effort towards ensuring a conducive atmosphere for youths to realize their potentials.
He, therefore, congratulated the Chancellor, the Pro-Chancellor, the Vice-Chancellor, the Council, the Senate and the university management as well as graduands, their parents and well-wishers for attending and making the occasion a memorable one.
In his convocation address, titled ‘the state of the university’, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Abdul-Rasheed Na’allah, said the university had been afflicted with some unsavoury challenges that have made smooth and seamless operations difficult in the system.
He mentioned some of the challenges to include: prevailing poor work ethics and the general indiscipline bordering on academics and other social malfeasances such as late reporting and early closure from work by staff, admission racketeering, poor attendance at lectures by both lecturers and students, loose administration and management of examinations, falsification of academic records, examination misconduct, cultism and sexual harassment amongst staff and students.
He stressed that with all the problems listed above the state of affairs of the institution had been stifled and the growth had been slow. He said that it became imperative that on resumption of office and after familiarization tour of all the campuses and facilities and after interface with all categories of staff, his team had to chart a new roadmap anchored on renewed confidence, dedication, commitment and involvement of all and sundry in the system towards the actualization of the collective dream to move the institution to the world class level.
He noted that though the journey on the new path have been short, but that reports from the various segments of the university of what had been achieved over the last academic session by all the faculties, departments and units have been quite remarkable.
The Vice-Chancellor recounted in passing some of the achievements being recorded by the university since he assumed office to include: Digitalization of the university operations, rejig of the examination architecture and management, renewed staff and students discipline, expansion of academic activities, students employment scheme and enhancing physical development and safety of assets.
Prof. Na’Allah disclosed that a total of 7,333 students graduated from the university, out of which 25 Students made the First Class category, 927 made the Second Class Upper category, while the others made Second Class Lower, Third Class and Pass Categories. About 392 graduated from the postgraduate school, out of which 16 were in the PhD category.
He urged all the staff, students and other stakeholders to continue to do the needful so as to ensure the actualization of taking the university to the next level.
Present at the convocation ceremony were: the Chancellor and Emir of Zazzau, His Royal Highness, Alhaji (Dr.) Shehu Idris, CFR; Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Alhaji Sani Maikudi; Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academics, Professor C. B. I. Alawa; Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Administration, Professor Sani Adam; Registrar, Malam Yahya Mohammed; Bursar, Malam Rufai Ahmed Babba, Librarian, Professor (Mrs.) Roseline Echezona, Vice-Chancellors of sister universities, some members of the National Assembly, as well as parents and friends of the graduands.