President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday called for change of attitude by citizens toward education for facilitated progress of the country.
Buhari made the call at the 52nd (2020) Convocation of the University of Lagos, for the award of postgraduate degrees and diplomas.
The president who was represented by Dr Chris Maiyaki, Deputy Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), said that education or human capital development was key to successes.
“We need to change the way we do things in Nigeria. We need to change our attitude toward education, if we desire genuine change and progress in our country.
“We are living in an age of knowledge, an age where education or human capital development holds the key to our successes and is at the heart of our opportunities as a people and a nation.
“Only education, particularly the type of quality education, produced in good universities, can instigate rapid social, economic, scientific and technological changes needed to guarantee our march to the future with pride and confidence.
“It remains our most portent weapon for injecting hope in our youths and in our ability to negotiate a better quality of life for our people,” the president said.
According to him, the country’s challenges are many, and tackling them will require different but fresh perspectives anchored on innovative approaches to education delivery throughout the country.
“It is, therefore, imperative for universities in this country to take the lead in opening our minds to the emerging scenarios and equipping ourselves to meet the challenges posed by these changes.
“We cannot afford to be strangers in the new world being driven by education and technological advancements.
“Our universities must be in the forefront of generating and disseminating knowledge and innovations to ensure our country’s participation in the global knowledge society,” he said.
Buhari said that the Federal Government would continue to encourage the nation’s universities and other tertiary institutions to produce skilled manpower with a view to building a strong economy.
According to him, the government will deploy resources at its disposal to encourage tertiary institutions to enable them to meet obligations.
He noted that the government had recently shown commitment by releasing N22.5 billion as Earned Allowances and N30 billion as revitalisation fund for universities.
“We have also ensured that TETFund is responsive and proactive by providing among others, funds for research, infrastructure and staff development.
“From 2019 to date, a sizeable amount running into billions has been disbursed for funding of research.
” I am not aware of any other administration that has paid more attention to funding of education like the present administration.
” However, we shall not rest on our oars. We shall continue to engage relevant stakeholders to ensure sustainable funding to enable our universities to deliver on their mandates.
” Let me reiterate that education remains a top priority of this administration,” he added.
The president thanked the governing council, management, staff and students of the university for ensuring peace and stability on campus.
He said that their choice to live peacefully with one another, with a view to promoting sustainable growth, productivity and the pursuit of greatness, was a step in the right direction.
According to him, without peace, the university enterprise can neither guarantee the much-needed conducive environment for teaching, learning and community action, nor effectively fulfill mission.
He restated his administration’s commitment to fighting corruption, improving security and stimulating the economy to create more employment opportunities.
“We shall continue to pursue these goals until we overcome all obstacles.
“We shall continue to sacrifice our time and energy until we succeed in restoring the dignity and respectability of the ordinary Nigerian.
“We shall continue to work with honesty, integrity and dedication to change the fortunes of our country, and we are confident that we shall emerge victorious in our resolve to effect positive change to the lives of our people,” he said.
Buhari noted that COVID-19 pandemic brought about changes to the traditional ways of teaching and learning.
He said that blended learning had become necessary.
“Our universities must be on top of these developments by ensuring that both academic and non-teaching staff would be conversant with, and master the technology and techniques of virtual interactions consistent with the benchmark minimum academic standards,” he said.
Earlier, the Chancellor of the university, Alhaji Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai El Kanemi, the Shehu of Borno, reiterated the need to intenisy efforts in producing quality manpower to drive the growth of the nation.
He said that he would continue to work closely with the institution’s management to promote the objectives for which the institution was established.
He appealed to the Federal Government to provide more teaching and learning infrastructure.
The Pro Chancellor of the institution, Sen. Lanre Tejuoso, urged the university to put its expertise at the disposal of policy formulators.
According to him, this, will engender the right decisions for the development of the country.
“The challenge is for our university to live up to its billing as a pioneer educational institution that must channel its researches and resources to solving problems that afflict our society.
“Today, our country is faced with a lot of socio-political and economic problems such as insecurity, terrorism, unemployment and poverty.
“We are speaking with the Federal Government, agencies and friends at different levels to rally the university in its bid to generate and disseminate knowledge.
“Council is aware of the obvious implications of staff attrition through resignation, retirement and death.
“We are already working in concert with appropriate Federal Government agencies to address the issue of recruitment for academic and non-academic staff,” he said.
Earlier, the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, said that the institution was conscious of its obligation to the country to not only raise competent and capable manpower but also to train them to become creative and innovative.
“That is why, as a critical part of our 25-year stategic plan, we established the Entrepreneurship and Skills Development Centre (ESDC) as a platform to groom and promote the enterprise culture among staff and students.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 4,418 postgraduate students were admitted into Master’s Degree, PhD and Post Graduate Diploma in various disciplines. (NAN)