PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has said that the government is aware of the decline in the standard of education in the country.
The President on Saturday in Rivers State, at the University of Port Harcourt’s 30th convocation and 40th anniversary, expressed the need for university authorities to give more attention to the security of lives and property within their environment.
The President, who was represented by the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, Prof. Julius Okojie, stated that no meaningful teaching, learning and research could take place in an atmosphere of insecurity and fear.
“The Federal Government is aware of the setback to research in our universities due to brain drain, loss of research development assistance and weakened links with overseas development partners in the last three decades.
“In recent times, the efforts of the private sector and government in the expansion of access to university education through the establishment of universities have been unprecedented.
“We must continue to ensure that our deserving youths, who are desirous of university education, are able to gain admission into universities and receive quality education.
“Students are at the centre of university life and must therefore be well catered for. Universities must strive to engage the private sector in adequately regulated Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) model of provision of students’ accommodation to ensure that students are not exploited in any way.
“Universities must therefore endeavour to complete their perimeter fencing, where needed and adhere to legal processes concerning land titles and other issues,” the President said.
He explained that the newly revised and upgraded curricula for the approved programmes in Nigerian universities were based on the philosophy of training, primarily job creators rather than job seekers, which he said would go a long way in addressing the issues of skills acquisition and employability.
He pointed out that the capacity building project for improved teacher quality was yielding the desired results, disclosing that over 12,000 university teachers has benefitted from it.
“This administration will continue to support the Nigerian university system in ensuring that learning, teaching and research facilities are constantly upgraded and up to date so as to make the institutions globally competitive.
“We are aware of the concerted efforts made by UNIPORT in various aspects of research, particularly in the area of oil and gas studies, through your Institute of Petroleum Studies, “ he said.
The President explained that the Federal Government had in the past improved university education through the Tertiary Education Trust Fund.
He called on universities in the country to seek the support of corporate organisations and development partners to improve their finances, while charging them to always relate with host communities and security agencies in their determination to ensure improved level of security within their environment.
In his remark earlier, UNIPORT Vice Chancellor, Professor Joseph Ajienka, asked graduands to take delivery of their certificates and transcripts immediately after the convocation.
Ajienka pointed out that it was the first time in the history of the school that graduates would be told to collect their certificates on the day of graduation.
Also, the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, represented by his deputy, Dr. Ipalibo Banigo, promised that his administration would always assist the university just as he congratulated the school on its 40th anniversary.