Ugo Aliogo and Augusta Akumka
The Chairman, Board Trustees (BoT) Caleb University, Lagos, Professor Peter Okebukola has called on the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) to make adequate provision for private universities in its intervention programmes as a way of improving the standard of education in the country.
Speaking at the seventh convocation ceremony of the university recently, he said private university proprietors are putting up a position that TETFund should be able to provide for private universities, adding that the bulk of the monies from TETFund come from private universities.
Okebukola who spoke on â€˜Your Role in Shaping Nigeriaâ€™s Futureâ€™, said steps should be taken for TETFund laws to support capital development of private universities and other issues, adding that in 1921-66, government was providing â€˜grants in aidsâ€™ to private schools. â€œThe policy is not new.â€
He said the grants-in-aids was done by government because the citizens were of Nigeria descent, adding that there is need for government to revisit the policy as a number of institutions are currently practising it.
â€œThe policy is practiced around the world. For instance, we have Harvard University as a classic example, at the start of Harvard, it had support through endowments from the public and private sectors respectively through several instruments, until the university was able to stand on its own. Today, a year budget of Harvard is more than the combined budget of all universities in Nigeria.
â€œTETfund should not just invest money in these private universities, but it should be performance-driven. For instance, if a particular university is doing a course that will benefit the economy, there should be a formula that should be applied that will test performance. I want government to carry out what is known as a stress test for all private universities so that those that are able to pass the test will qualify for the financial support from TETFund.â€
In his remarks, the Vice-Chancellor of the institution, Professor Ayandiji Aina, described the graduating students as people with great potential for the corporate world, adding that they have been taught the rudiments of survival in life and the principle of value addition in the society.
He added that as part of efforts to retain some of its best brains, the university council recently approved the full package for the graduate assistantship which would give lecturing opportunity to students with first class and a good second class upper division (a minimum of 4.0).
Aina said if any student falls in that bracket, the individual has the opportunity to be enlisted and that others with partial support would be trained abroad.
â€œThose who would be sponsored from graduate assistantship to PhD level have to be between 4.0 and above, while those with low second class lower division, but desirous of work, will be encouraged to do their masters and can also be considered for work.â€
He said the National Universities Commission (NUC) has embarked on the first leg of formal assessment of universities which he said involved using the Open Education Resource Platform (OER), adding that the open space increases feasibility for the education sector to change the magnitude of assessment of Nigeria universities.
He said the university is strategically positioned in that direction, adding that during the formal assessment and ranking of universities, Caleb would be in the leadership position.
At the 2017 convocation ceremony, 14 graduands made first class, while 142 made second class upper division, 162 made second lower division and 47 had third class.
Miss Elizabeth Nejo of the Department of Mass Communication emerged the best graduating student with a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 4.85, while for the postgraduate class, Mr. Quadri Ahmed of the Department of Architecture came tops with a CGPA of 4.91.
Out of a total of 409 students that graduated; 365 were undergraduates while 44 were postgraduate students in the Masters of Business Administration (MBA) and Masters in Science of Architecture (MSA).