By Abdulrafiu Agboola
The Governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has reaffirmed his administration’s determination towards the continuous provision of quality and functional education at all levels.
Aregbesola said parts of his administration’s efforts was to build a world class university that would be universally recognized and aspired.
The Governor said his dream for the state owed university is to become a centre of excellence where students will be trained in culture, learning and character; and where the faculty will provide idea of leadership to the world.
Aregbesola said his administration has been building a university where the students in particular will have their intellect cultivated to be able to think and find solutions to personal and societal problems.
He said part of his education reforms and restructuring was to build graduates that will also be equipped with life sustaining skills that will make them to stand independent in society, in contrast with the graduates that are just brandishing bland certificates as they roam the streets in search of jobs.
The state helmsman said the focus of the state was to enhance and promote education system in such a way that the elementary, secondary and tertiary institutions would be a vision-driven and goal-oriented academic environments to all sundry.
He described university education as a “license to greatness”, stressing that the current government has been building a university that will be a solution centre and as well providing leadership in ideas by guiding the society on the path to the future and at critical times.
Acknowledging some of the challenges facing the country most significantly in the areas of food; shelter, healthcare, clothing, transportation, governance and administration, technology and so on, Aregbesola said the university should be in a position of leadership, unraveling mysteries, dispensing myths, charting new paths and solving problems.
He said, “new realities have brought new challenges to society, the government and the university itself just as you are all aware, a calamity befell our nation, such that did not even occur during the civil war”.
Governor Aregbesola charged the newly inaugurated council to see beyond their noses and fashion out how the university would fund itself without passing the burden on the students.
Aregbesola also called on the management of the university not to depend on proprietor’s subvention or putting a heavy burden of tuition on the students, but rather bring about new thinking and new approaches to raising funds for the universities, adding that such could come from endowment chairs, direct funding of programmes, getting philanthropists to fund projects and researches and generating revenue through intellectual property.
He said: “Harvard University in the United States has the largest endowment of $34.6 billion, according to the 2014 figures. This was followed by Yale University with $25.6 billion. Number 10 on the list is University of Michigan with $10 billion. In contrast, no university in Nigeria has $1billion endowment. How do we expect our graduates to compete with their graduates? This is food for thought.
“The time has come for us to break from the past. This calls for innovation. We cannot continue to do things in the way of the past and expect changes.”
The newly inaugurated Chairman of the Governing Council, Mallam Yusuf Olaolu Alli, who spoke on behalf of members of the council, assured the state of repositioning, re-engineering and redirecting the affairs of the university to make it one of the best in Nigeria, Africa and indeed the world at large.
Mallam Alli who is also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, assured the state of hitting the ground running by placing time, resources and endowments at their disposal to improve the institution.
The legal practitioner also assured of discharging their attached responsibilities to the best of their ability selflessly and without fear or favour and in the best interest of all.
Acknowledging some of the challenges facing education sector, Mallam Alli said it is obvious that government alone cannot fund education to enviable height, hence, all hands must be on deck to assist the state towards the provision of quality and functional education.
Mallam Alli said it is the responsibility of the council to champion the course by taping from their rich and extensive contacts in the private sector to uplift the university to the greater heights, saying “we shall always be guided by the philosophy of what is best for the system at all times irrespective of our individual wishes, interest and aspirations”.
“Let me assure you all on behalf of my colleagues that our decisions shall be driven by justice, fairness, equity, humanness and fear of God.
“I know these challenges are not beyond us and I am convinced that given the enabling environment, this is achievable within a record time.
“I wish to assure all the stakeholders in the university that this council will operate with consensus and engage in wide consultations on all issues, as we solicit the cooperation and collaboration of the management, academic and non-academic staff and the students of the university in the arduous task ahead.
Mallam Alli who pledged to render his services free of charge, said “as the chairman of the Governing Council, I will not draw any of my entitlement for the period of my service in the council”.
Meanwhile, other members of the committee include: Prof Solomon Akinboye, Dr Abeke Omotoso, Prof Kasali Adegoke, Sir Benjamin Aladekomo, Engineer Tunde Ponle and Prof Charles Abiodun.
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