Education

Make investment in education a priority, Oyedepo tells FG

Oyedepo

Esther Taiwo

Chancellor of Covenant University, Otta in Ogun State owned by Living Faith Church, Dr. David Oyedepo, has emphasised the need for Africa’s most populous nation, Nigeria and indeed the entire continent to deploy more resources to fund education to drive and achieve meaningful growth and development.

Oyedepo said this at the institution’s 14th Convocation while dismissing as a baseless notion of the Blackman as a lesser being to other races. He urged Africans to rise and begin to toe the path of greatness for their people, saying that second fiddle roles could be done away with through deliberate investment in the education sector.

Oyedepo said that the only way to develop capacities for learning and national development in Nigeria and other African countries was to make investment in education a priority.

“Until one is transformed through education, he or she cannot transform his environment, society or nation, ” he said.

The chancellor noted that the only way that Nigeria and other African countries could have equal rights like other great nations and not be seen as second class citizens was through investment in education.

A total of 215 students of the University were conferred with First Class degrees out of a total of 1,580 that graduated for the 2018/2019 academic session during the ceremony which took place at the University Chapel in Otta, Ogun State.

The number comprised of 215 first class honours, 668 second class upper honours, 415 second class lower, nine in third class and 239 post-graduates.

Miss Ajia Motunrayo, a student in the Department of Petroleum Engineering, College of Engineering, emerged the best student with a Cumulative Grade Point Average( CGPA) of 5.0.

This was the first time that the institution would be attaining such a feat, the closest being the 2016 convocation where Master Winner Deji-Folutile from Department of Architecture had 4.97.

According to the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Aaron Atayero, in his address, he noted that education is a powerful weapon which can be used to change the world and achieve sustainable economic growth, especially, on the African continent.

”The institution is committed to supporting and encouraging research and development works aimed at providing innovative solutions to societal problems and enhancing the quality of life as enunciated in the Sustainable Development Goals ( SDGs) agenda ,” he said.

The Vice Chancellor said that Covenant University had continued to provide quality education by providing lifelong learning opportunities through granting public access to resources of the institution’s Centre for Learning.

Atayero also said that the institution’s curriculum was designed to raise a new generation of leaders who would be spiritually and mentally equipped to restore the dignity of the blackman.

In his keynote address, Dr. Monisoye Afolabi, a former Director of Business Environment, USAID Trade Hub, Accra, Ghana, said that Africa was likely to have more population than China and India with time.

He said the continent should take advantage of its population and invest in education.

Afolabi stressed the need for African countries to spend 30 per cent of their annual budgets on the education sector in order to ensure self reliance.

“This is when education can take its rightful place in the development of Africa .” he said.

Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, the Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission (NUC), said that the commission would do everything possible to support the 173 universities in the country.

Rasheed also said that the commission would support innovative and flexible programmes across the tertiary institutions.

The NUC scribe commended Covenant University for its excellent performance and its implementation of the strategies designed by the commission for universities in the country.

While delivering the convocation lecture earlier, Prof. Peter Okebukola, a former Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission(NUC), called on the Federal Government to work toward providing a world class learning environment for tertiary institutions in the country.

In the lecture titled “World Ranking Parameters: Matters Arising for African Universities”, Okebukola noted that the nation’s tertiary institutions and those on the African continent were poorly ranked on global league tables as a result of several factors.

He listed the factors to include low investment in research enterprise, research capacity deficits, inefficiencies in the system, sharp practices in research and poor data collection and management capabilities among others.

“There is an urgent need for greater investment in education by the Federal Government and other African countries in order to be ranked as one of the best world class universities.

” They also need to provide learner friendly infrastructure by improving investment in research that will strengthen institutional and human research capacities,” he said.

Okebukola urged the Federal Government to address inefficiencies in the system so as to attract international staff and students.

The don also stressed the need for the Federal Government to encourage national ranking of universities in order to prepare the ‘local for the global.’

He canvassed the need to avoid the shame of low ranking and produce better quality graduates to drive national economics, enhance prestige of the university and attract more students and international scholars.

Okebukola further said the ability of Nigeria and other African countries to create an enabling environment for their universities to thrive would lead to national development.

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Ihesiulo Grace

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