By Aplefe Ojong
Universities administrators’ in Nigeria have been called upon to aggressively increase the pace of knowledge generation with emphasis on practical needs-responsive and needs-driven research to provide solutions to practical national problems and challenges.
President, Dr. GoodLuck Ebele Jonathan gave the challenge in his address presented at the 28th Convocation ceremony and 40th anniversary of the University of Calabar, held at the Abraham Ordia Stadium, UNICAL on Saturday.
Dr. Jonathan who was represented at the ceremony by the Minister of Education, Ibrahim Shekarau, through the Visiting Professor to the National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Akaniyene Essien, reasoned that globally, Universities are established to train the highest levels of national man powers, and that in our modern knowledge-based economy, universities should serve as the engine room of development, as well as a repository of knowledge and research.
He said that his administration is fully aware of the important role education plays in the development of any society, and that it was based on this reality so much was being put into the sector by the Federal government under his leadership and that the return of quality and competitiveness to our education is one of the major plank of his administration’s transformation agenda, and that his leadership will continue to improve on our education through several interventions including the traditional disbursements through TETFUND and other agencies.
President Jonathan therefore challenged universities to take advantage of the N3 billion National Research Fund grant for tertiary institutions established to boost demand-driven research, as well as facilitate national development to enhance global competitiveness, and disclosed that to date only N552.2 Million of the said sum had been accessed.
Dr. Jonathan commended the leadership of UNICAL for the various infrastructural developments that had been undertaken and commissioned and those still ongoing as well as the introduction of the Faculty of Engineering and that of Pharmacy, adding he called on the graduating students to go into the labor market to put into practice what they have learned these past years.
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