A nation’s workforce consists of people who have been trained by a system. It could be formal (as in the case of primary, secondary and tertiary schools) or informal (as in the case of vocational skills). This system, whichever adopted by a particular country, must be efficient and good enough to prepare the next generation of workforce for nation building. In Nigeria, the formal facility is the most adopted to train skilled workers, while the informal facility is adopted for unskilled workers.
Nigeria depends on the university system to produce dependable workforce in fields such as engineering, medicine, arts and communication, education, etc. Consequently, President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that no nation can achieve accelerated development without a stable and respectable university system. He stressed that universities have the potential and responsibility of training the necessary human capital to drive the various development initiatives of government. The president made this declaration at the 33rd and 34th combined convocation of the University of Jos.
Universities in Nigeria should offer a roadmap to overcome problems.
At the event, Buhari said that the celebrations were a reflection of his administration’s commitment to the education sector and his firm belief that sustainable development can only be guaranteed by the quality of a nation’s human capital development. The president, who was represented by the executive secretary of the National University Commission (NUC), Prof. Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, said that the needs assessment program of Nigerian public universities and massive interventions by TETFund are being used to address challenges in infrastructure.
He noted that tertiary institutions in the country are gradually becoming models of excellence in the global education landscape. For instance, Buhari’s administration has constructed at least 83 internal road projects across federal tertiary institutions in the country. As a way of reciprocating this huge investment in the education sub-sector, he said that these schools must offer the country an essential roadmap for overcoming poverty, deprivation, and despair. This is because the job of universities is to answer hard questions, stimulate important national discourse, and bring solutions to the issues bedeviling the country.
President appeals to staff and students to see themselves as partners.
The commander-in-chief mentioned some of the notable achievements of the University of Jos that have attracted the attention of the government over the years. One of them is the school’s excellent performance in academic programs such as law, medicine, pharmacy, theater and film arts. Other achievements include the grant of $2 million in 2023 by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, breakthrough findings in the area of malaria and snake venom research, the recent landmark strides made as part of the consortium of researchers involved in the development of a homegrown COVID-19 vaccine.
This research was funded by the 2021 TETFund Mega Research Grant (Vaccine Production). On his account, the president appealed to the various students and members of staff on campus to consider themselves partners-in-progress in the rigorous task of repositioning the university system for optimal productivity and quality service delivery. Also, the new chancellor of the university, the Emir of Zazzau, His Highness, Ambassador Ahmed Nuhu Bamalli, recalled how the University of Jos was established in 1975 and today has become a preferred academic destination.
Chancellor pledges to continue the school’s legacy.
In his address, the chancellor said he sees his appointment as a patriotic call to duty and pledged not to spare any effort to make the university the envy of its peers. He also said that he intends to maintain the legacies of his predecessors by building trust and human connection as well as the ability to unearth common ground that will bring people closer to one another. Meanwhile, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Tanko Ishaya, called on the federal government to change the current funding model of universities as it is not sustainable.