*Tasks varsities to develop new curricula on self-employment.
By Joseph Erunke
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has blamed the crises in Nigeria on ignorance and lack of proper education, saying the problem can only be addressed through the provision of proper education.
This was as he tasked universities to begin to develop curricula on self-education, saying a shift in focus and orientation of students was very necessary at the moment.
Noting that education “supports all efforts and developments in terms of social, economic, political and religious undertakings”, Buhari, who spoke, Saturday,at the 11th Convocation ceremony of the National Open University of Nigeria,NOUN,held in Abuja, said his,”Administration is committed to making education affordable to all, through the Open and Distance Learning,ODL.
“In this connection, the National Policy on Education,NPE, had provided for lifelong learning that transcends all barriers through Open and Distance Learning,ODL), the president said in his through his representative and acting Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Mr. David Gende. said his “administration has done and will continue to do a number of things to support the operations of the university by placing priority in the provision of critical human and material infrastructure through annual budgetary allocations and interventions from Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFUND.
“It is common knowledge that the root cause of most of the recorded crises of nationhood we experience in Nigeria is as a result of ignorance which can only be through the provision of education.
” The University, as the only single-mode, Open and Distance Learning (ODL) institution in Nigeria, was established by the Federal Government of Nigeria to bring equitable access to all eligible Nigerians who are being constrained by the limited space in the Conventional Universities.
“I am extremely happy to note that the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) is indeed delivering on its mandate by taking affordable University education to the doorsteps of Nigerians irrespective of their location, tribe, sex, and religion,” the president said.
Açcording to him,”Education as we all know, supports all efforts and developments in terms of social, economic, political and religious undertakings.
” It is common knowledge that the root cause of most of the recorded crises of nationhood we experience in Nigeria is as a result of ignorance which can only be through the provision of education.
“This is why this Administration is committed to making education affordable to all, through the Open and Distance Learning (ODL). In this connection, the National Policy on Education (NPE) had provided for Lifelong Learning that transcends all barriers through Open and Distance Learning (ODL).
“This A)administration has done and will continue to do a number of things to support the operations of the University by placing priority in the provision of critical human and material infrastructure through annual budgetary allocations and interventions from Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND),” he added.
The president said,” It is gratifying to note that the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) continues to record more successes at the national level by expanding access to higher education as well as making it affordable through the establishment of more Study Centres across the country.”
” In this regard, the National Open University of Nigeria has created a niche for itself in both national and global spaces,” he further said.
The president, while noting that,”it is pertinent to restate that the nation’s educational curriculum be geared towards placing emphasis on entrepreneurship education”, said there must be a paradigm shift in the focus and orientation of our graduates towards employment opportunities.”
” The realisation of this objective lies with our universities to develop new curricula that will lay emphasis on self-employment,”he insisted.
But the president said,””It is pleasing to note that the National Universities Commission (NUC) is about to conclude the comprehensive review of the curricula of all programmes in our universities and placing premium on entrepreneurship.”
“This as we all know is a driver to increase productivity and reduction in unemployment figures among our youths.
” The Federal Government through various interventions has created the enabling environment in support of this drive. It is our hope that our graduates will utilise these opportunities by embracing all the various programmes that have been put in place.
“I salute the efforts of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) Management and the Governing Council for making sure that Government funds released to the University are judiciously utilised in erecting top-class facilities as exemplified by iconic structures on this campus,”he added.
“I urge you not only to maintain the tempo but to continue to improve on your performance as you pilot the affairs of this great University,” he told the students.
The president congratulated the graduates “who despite all challenges, have endeavoured to put in their very best to attain their dreams of being proud holders of university degrees.”
” I, therefore, charge you as you go into the larger society to be good citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, our Country. In addition, endeavour to utilize the various Federal Government interventions to reduce unemployment,” he added.
On his part,the Vice Chancellor of NOUN,Prof. Olufemi Peters, described the convocation as the unique in many respects,given that it was the first he was presiding over since he took over the mantle of the institution as vice chancellor.
He used the opportunity to request for a speedy appointment of a substantive chancellor for the National Open University of Nigeria,NOUN, following the death of the chancellor-designate, His Royal Highness,Agabaidu Elias Ikoyi Obekpa,Och’ Idoma IV,who was billed to be installed at the occasion if he had not died.
The convocation,he said, did not only hold at the convocation arena but also across the state capitals in Nigeria “and indeed, in all,in all but 48 of the 103 Study Centres of the University.”
” This feature of our convocation brings into prominence the fact that the National Open University of Nigeria is indeed a class of its own. It also underscores the significance of the “gown to town’ credo of the socio-educational development of our people in Nigeria.”