The National Universities Commission (NUC) has urged Prof. Folasade Ogunsola, the 13th Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, to further re-engineer the institution’s policy on internalisation.
The National Executive Secretary of the commission, Prof. Rasheed Abubakar, gave the advice at the investiture of Ogunsola, the first female vice Chancellor of the institution, on Tuesday in Lagos.
Ogunsola succeeded Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, the 12th vice chancellor, whose tenure came to an end on Nov. 12, 2022.
Speaking further, the NUC boss, who was represented by Dr Chris Maiyaki, the Deputy Executive Secretary of the commission, noted that the development was expedient.
According to him, this is considering the fact that Ogunsola has over the years been a bulwark, having been part and parcel of the success story, which had taken the institution’s internalisation portfolio to enviable heights.
He said that the university, more than ever, needed to have a clear understanding of prevailing global trends.
“This is especially as it relates to the future of work, wherein the institution must, out of necessity, skew its academic programmes to equip students with all the requisite hard, soft and digital skill set that would enable them function effectively as global citizens in the 21st century.
“It is necessary for you to innovatively establish sustainable partnerships with government agencies, industry, and society.
“This is as you undertake the quadruple helix model operational in the prevailing global knowledge economy where advancements are based principally on intensive research work and postgraduate development activities.
“Hence, as a university, you must focus on how students can learn and acquire relevant skills that will enable them to succeed in today’s highly dynamic and competitive world,” Abubakar said.
According to him, there are many other important issues that the vice chancellor must also address, if she is to succeed and create a pathway for sustainable growth.
“You need to master and creatively deploy all strategies of internationalisation of higher education in ways that will enhance your institutional global visibility and ranking.
“There is need to also facilitate vibrant international collaborations and in the process, attract more international students and staff to your institution of higher learning,” he said.
He added that the process of performance evaluation had increasingly left much to be desired in the country’s universities.
The NUC scribe noted that there was a gradual erosion of order, in assessments and promotions at all levels.
“The intellectual space has shrunken to the extent that there is a subversion of the age-long and most cherished tradition and prestige of the academia.
“It is therefore no longer news that some among the professorate have questionable credentials. You must, out of necessity, ensure that the reward system is based on hard work and academic credibility/ influence.
“It should not be solely on belonging to trite formations designed to gain prebendal footholds.
“The need has arisen for each institution and moreso, the university of Lagos, under your watch, to reassess itself and re-examine the extent to which its conduct and character align with its vision, mission and core mandates,” he stated.
The executive secretary noted that on the issues of funding and resource mobilisation, the fundamental error was often to think that money was the problem always.
He added that it was also erroneously thought that all problems were solvable with more money in the system.
“Truth must be told that although there is a recognition that funding is a problem, the dynamics axes of academic freedom, creativity and innovation have shrunken.
“This is so much in the universities to the extent that they have diminished, compromised their capacities, to meet their obligations to the nation, communities and students alike.
“Certainly, the university of Lagos is aware of the Core Curriculum Minimum Academic Standards (CCMAS) which was recently launched by the National Universities Commission.
“By the CCMAS, each university is expected to provide 30 per cent of the contents of the curriculum of each of the academic programmes being administered.
“While ensuring that all your academic programmes are consistent with the 70 per cent contents specified in the CCMAS, you are hereby challenged to creatively provide the 30 per cent contents.
“This should be done in ways that will ensure that each programme has significant social impact and relevance within the context of the prevailing local, national, and global realities,” he said.
He added that the commission reckoned that this is achievable, only in a multistakeholder collegiate, involving the academics and organised private sector alike.
According to him, another challenge of any university aspiring to be among the global best universities is that of internationalisation in all its ramifications.
Eulogising Ogunsola on her credentials and past and current achievements, Abubakar noted that university administration was one of the most daunting jobs in the education sector.
He noted that this was especially as it concerns its vocal and volatile ecosystem.
“Therefore, your choice to pilot the affairs of this great institution, at this defining moment, is a mark of the confidence which you have been able to build for yourself over the years.
“Your antecedents have placed you on solid pedestal to steer the ship and consolidate on the gains recorded at the university.
“The NUC congratulates and celebrates with you on this well-deserved appointment.
“It also gives us immense pleasure that our deliberate efforts as a commission at encouraging greater female participation and women empowerment in university affairs is making significant impact.
“It is important to emphasise that the NUC will also continue to support female academics to reach the highest in academic, administrative and technical cadre in the university system.
“It is also going to encourage and promote the enrollment of more female students in university education across all disciplines,” the scribe stated.
In her welcome speech, Ogunsola noted that she was considering the establishment of a new campus for research and development in the free trade zone in Epe.
She said she also planned to obtain a land to commence agriculture.
According to her, food security is critical for the future.
“Our cosmopolitan location gives us a unique advantage in developing and strengthening urban agriculture and aquaculture,
“The University of Lagos cannot afford to be left out. These are my two audacious goals,” Ogunsola stated.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that notable personalities that graced the occasion include former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the Obi of Onitsha.
The high point of the event was the handing over of the university’s mace to Ogunsola by the Pro Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Dr Olarenwaju Tejuoso.