Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Rufa’I
By Damilola Oyedele
The Federal Government has inaugurated the Governing Councils of the University of Lagos, Obafemi Awolowo University, University of Benin and Micheal Okpara University of Agriculture with the mandate to adopt best practices for the institutions and monitor institutional projects.
It, however, warned the councils not to interfere in the day to day running of the institutions, a development which saw to the dissolution of some universities’ councils before the end of their tenure.
The Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Rufa’I, while speaking at the inauguration of the councils in Abuja Thursday, reiterated that the critical reforms needed in the education sector remains on course as the stride for social and economic advancement depends largely on the progress made in research and technology.
“... inadequate human resource and physical infrastructure, unstable academic calendar, general insecurity, examination malpractice, inadequate space for those seeking admission, decline in academic standards...” she said, just as she listed challenges in the education sector.
She urged the newly inaugurated councils to generate ideas that will improve their ability to generate more revenue and seek funding outside government to improve the facilities and infrastructure that will promote teaching, research and learning in the institutions.
Rufa’I also harped on the necessity of streamlining educational programmes in the Universities to meet national and international standards and to ensure that only programmes accredited by relevant regulatory bodies are allowed to run.
“One of the challenges which governing councils should tackle is the appointment of Principal Officers to ensure that transparency, probity and due process are followed in the selection and appointment process so that the best and right candidates emerge for these positions,” the minister added.
She asked the councils to encourage responsible unionism and arrest the problems of cultism, drug abuse, extortion, sexual harassment, examination malpractices and other such vices that plague the institutions.
The Chairman of the Council of UNILAG, Prof. Jerry Gana, who responded on behalf of all the members gave the assurance that they would provide effective leadership with integrity, fairness, justice and honour to the schools.
He expressed appreciation to President Goodluck Jonathan for allowing the statutory and constitutional name of the University of Lagos to stay adding that the councils would follow suit and obey all extant laws established to guide the Universities.
The Council of the University of Lagos has Gana as chairman with Dr. Monday Okoni, Igwe Kris Onyekwuluje, Dr. Garba Usman Tetengi and Mr. Gbenga Adefaye as members. The University of Benin has Senator Bob Dickson Effiong as chairman with Mrs. Jamila Salik, Mr. Joe Gadzama, Chief Samuel Edohoeket and Mr. Akinboro Muyiwa as members.
The members of the Council of OAU are Prof. Rowland Ndoma Egba ( Chairman), Chief Moses Utazi, Omoyele Daniel, Hon. Tijjani Goni Guzamal and Mr. Sunday Ibrahim Ameh, while the members for MOUA are Prof. Anya O Anya (Chairman), Chief Chris Iroebe, Mr. Government Julius Tarabro, Prof. Rasheed Kola Ojukutu and Mr. Shettima Muhammed Saleh.