28th November, 2015
President Muhammadu Buhari Saturday said the present standard of education in Nigeria has unfortunately succeeded in creating three classes of Nigerians.
According to him, these are a minority that is well educated, a majority that is either mis-educated or poorly educated and those without education at all.
Buhari who spoke through the Minister of Education (State), Professor Anthony Onwuka, at the 41st Convocation/Founder’s Day Ceremony of the University of Benin (UNIBEN) in Edo state, called on universities in the country to re-focus their orientation to be pro-entrepreneur driven with a view to create employment and also improve their capacity to train personnel which he said are needed to drive government’s economic polices.
“As part of the efforts of this administration to address the burning issue of youth unemployment in the country, our universities should strive to become more entrepreneurial in outlook, while curriculum development should be industry-driven, with conscious efforts made to involve the industry in the exercise. It has been identified that the university has the capacity to train the needed personnel to drive the various economic initiatives of the government.
“The ambition of the federal government of Nigeria is on the provision of qualitative education, especially tertiary education, for our teeming youths. This, however, requires the support of all stakeholders. If there is one thing most Nigerians agree on, it is the fact that our educational system is undervalued.
“Permit me to say at this point and very sadly too that the current standard of education in Nigeria has unfortunately succeeded in creating three classes of Nigerians; a minority that is well educated, a majority that is either mis-educated or poorly educated and those without education at all. This is not healthy for our country and concerted efforts should be made to reverse the trend.”
Buhari further noted that “in the knowledge-driven 21st Century, education is clearly the key driver of the socio-economic development. And as we all know, the university is a major vehicle for the much deserved change in our society, and in doing this, it must be responsive for the needs of its immediate environment.
“If Nigerian projection to be among the emerging economies after the BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China, the university should take the centre stage, they should seek to be more entrepreneurial in outlook. Each university is expected to identify its area of strength and lean on the support of experts within and outside to market those strong points.”
He said the Federal Government is determined to work assiduously within the limits of available resources to attain the desired change in the education sector, but added the government was aware of the supporting roles of other stakeholders in the sector.
While assuring of government’s willingness to commit more resources in bringing about the desired change, he warned that “stakeholders in the university are expected to reciprocate government’s gesture by applying the right attitude, without which the change mantra that we so canvassed may end up being a mere slogan. There is therefore the need for all managers and staff of all Nigerian universities to wake up to their responsibilities and key into the change mantra of this administration.”
Commenting on the challenging security situation, Buhari said it was as a result of activities of some misguided elements and groups, adding that what is more worrisome is that universities and our institutions of learning are not left out of this trend.
“Federal Government notes with dismay the incidences of bomb blasts and other related acts of terrorism in our institutions of learning and pledges its determination to put a final stop to this ugly trend as no responsible government will fold its arms and allow a system it took several years to build to give over and allow it blown away overnight due to the unwholesome activities of some elements in our midst.
“Education is the proud legacy bequeathed to us by our founding fathers and we must guard it jealously even in the midst of all manner of intimidation by enemies of our nation who are hell bent and making mincemeat of our collective achievement in this regard,” he noted.
In his speech, Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, congratulated the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhamad Sanusi II on his installation as Chancellor of the University.
Oshiomhole who thanked the Emir for his benevolence to UNIBEN during his days as Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, noted that his appointment as Chancellor has challenged the image of the university, just as it will “translate to a lot of benefits” for it.
Meanwhile, the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase and Professor of Gynaecology, Osato Giwa-Osagie, bagged Honorary Doctorate Degrees of the university.
Arase who was represented at the occasion by his wife, Agharese, was awarded the Degree of Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa) while Professor Giwa-Osagie was awarded Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa).
The renowned Gynaecologist, who thanked the university for doing him and the IGP the great honour, urged its management to be tolerant of its students and trainees to enable them excel.
He frowned at what he described as unhealthy, a situation whereby lecturers “sit upon students” and disallow them from graduating at the appropriate time.
“I consider myself lucky to have attended the University of Lagos where the university was tolerant to allow me to do whatever research I wanted to,” he said.
Earlier, the Vice Chancellor of UNIBEN, Professor Friday Orumwense, called on appropriate authorities to save the university from the menace of erosion that has remained a nagging challenge to the university and encroachment on the university’s land.
A total of 11,020 students bagged different degrees at the graduation ceremony.