Uchechukwu Nnaike

With all set for the commencement of academic activities on January 7, 2018, the Technical University, Ibadan has promised to train youths who will contribute significantly to the socio-economic advancement of Nigeria and other climes. The university said its graduates will be innovators, creators of jobs, employers and ultimately builders of society.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor, Ayobami Salami, who made this known while briefing journalists last week, said as the first technical university in Nigeria and West and Central African Sub-regions, the institution’s focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines is informed by the need to provide youths with the knowledge and skills that are applicable to actual world problems.

He said the institution was established to create access to a unique model of university education, adding that its strategic emergence on the higher education port of the country is meant to, through the painstaking cultivation of a cadre of technical professional with fitting entrepreneurial skills, frontally combat the mounting plague of youth unemployment in Nigeria.

“All students admitted to study here will compulsorily undergo trainings in two vocations selected by them at our Centre for Entrepreneurial and Vocational Studies. In conflating theory with practical, we expect to produce graduates that are demonstrably rounded in knowledge and sound in skills.”

Salami stressed that trainings at the centre would be provided by competent hands from the fields. “By this I mean we are not going to use our conventional lecturers. The instructors will be highly skilled artisans and industry experts. They are the ones who will conduct the continuous assessment and examinations. While they take 40 per cent, the conventional lecturers will take 60 per cent.”

He said the university would commence with 15 fully National Universities Commission (NUC)-accredited academic programmes, some of which are relatively new in Nigerian universities. Some of the new programmes are Cybersecurity, Biomedical Engineering, Software Engineering and Mechatronics Engineering.

“Already our curriculum is a product of the inputs of academics and industry experts. This has enabled us to avoid the mistake of assuming what industries and companies expect rather than their actual needs. With a policy like this, it is unlikely that we will produce graduates who are not fit for industries and companies anywhere.

Another unique feature of the institution he said is its location, adding that it enjoys considered placement in the Ibadan Free Trade Area where about 175 local and foreign manufacturing companies will establish presence and carry out their operations. “This is a deliberate and conscious decision that is intended to give students easy and direct access to ample opportunities for industrial exposure and hands-on experience.

“It will also engender strong collaboration with the university in the provision of services aimed at accelerating the growth and expansion of the industries located around the university area,” the VC said.

While leading journalists on a tour of facilities to ascertain the institution’s preparedness for take-off, Salami said the university has a befitting accommodation for students; 53 blocks of flat which would serve as a temporary hostel for students for one session after which a private developer would have completed work on the on the hostel within the university.

In terms of security, he said: “We have fully in place a network of security within the university and the hostel. We have different layers of security which include human and technological resources. The entire university premises are under 24-hour CCTV surveillance.”

The classrooms, science laboratories, library, clinic and other facilities are ready for take-off.