Renowned Lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN has disclosed that tertiary education is the cornerstone for Nigeria economic growth and national development.
He stated this while delivering the ninth convocation lecture of Caleb University, Imota, Lagos State titled: ‘Managing Freedom, And Illusions of Achievement’ at the graduation ceremony held at the weekend.
The lawyer added that training of students in universities is vital for both formal and informal education for the onward transmission to building a knowledge economy, new challenges in life and for establishing a civic duty to the society.
Falana however said that it seems that institutions of higher learning have eluded the cross border or global dimension of the changing global landscape, especially in relation to knowledge. “Thus, a striking question is how we implement policies for the openness to new ideas, and for setting up institutions to promote competitions.”
He said the university ought to have prepared the graduates to grapple with the challenges of life. “But due to lack of opportunities and abuse of academic freedom the education acquired here has partially prepared the graduates to face the vicissitude of life.”
The human right lawyer also explained that the preparation was not thorough because the failure of the government to fund education which has made majority of the young graduates not to be relevant in the Nigerian economy despite having attained university education, “they find it difficult to apply knowledge to reality.”
The lecturer therefore said for Nigeria to find its unique way of gaining impressive achievements in economic growth and poverty eradication, political departments should constantly monitor the political system, track budget performance at the federal, state and local government levels in order to ensure even and balanced development of all areas of the country.
Furthermore, it is suggested that universities should aspire to acquire a multitude of academic and practical experience. “Along these lines, faculties of engineering should have construction firms in university premises, and an in-house staff of mechanical engineers will bring in practical experience for students within the department for thorough understanding of construction projects.
“Our faculties of education should collaborate with the national commission for adult literacy to embark on the promotion of adult literacy and with the involvement of youth corps members and undergraduates; illiteracy can be wiped out in our country.”
Highlighting other country like Cuba who used the same method, Falana said some other third world countries have achieved a similar feat. “Confronted by mass unemployment our universities should design academic programmes to include vocational education.
“No doubt, the unemployment rate in the country is high but majority of our graduates are not employable or job ready that is the reason after acquiring university education each graduate must prepare themselves for competition in the larger society by acquiring knowledge in technology advancement.”
To the graduating students, Falana said having graduated and armed with degrees, it is a new freedom that carries with it a lot of responsibility but he said if they fail to manage their freedom their achievement as a graduate will become an illusion.
“After today’s graduation ceremony you are freed from college regulations, to succeed in life your newly found freedom demands discipline, sacrifice and determination. As you start your financial independence journey a lot of opportunities will come your way through personal connections and networking and if you are focused and determined you will grab some of the opportunities and succeed in building your career.
“Since the tertiary institutions are not structured to prepare students for the world after graduation you are advised to retain yourself and acquire new skills. The one year youth service provides an opportunity for every new graduate to acquire new skills and develop new ideas. If you serve with dedication during the service year your service may be retained in your place of primary assignment.”
He also advised that if they are not retained and they wish to apply for a job, they should design their curriculum vitae and be prepared for interviews. “Apart from your connections and networking you may wish to check job opportunities at home and abroad through the social media.”
Earlier in his speech, the Chancellor of the university, Brig Gen. Mobolaji Johnson charge the graduates to remain a worthy ambassadors of the university wherever they find themselves, “always uphold the truth, holiness and above all, modesty in all that you do.
The Pro-chancellor, Prof. ‘FolaTayo in his speech congratulated the graduating students urging them to make use of what they have learnt in the university for the development of the country. “You have been prepared and equipped to live and work and excel in this perverse and crooked generation. Let me assure you all that God is with you and He will never leave you, nor forsake you as you stand on His side.”
The Acting vice-chancellor, Prof. Nosa Owens-Ibie in his convocation address said the imperative of building a world-class university and to make the university an unmatchable aesthetic showpiece, demands the growth of all elements of the university dream, simultaneously, systematically and holistically.
“Though we are making steady progress, however, there is a lot more to do, as we move into a new phase of our development, with a breed of staff and students with the world at their feet.” He added.
Presenting the pioneers of the Caleb University Graduate Development Scheme at the ceremony, the VC said they are the future and represent the blend of intelligence, passion and character. “Showcasing the pioneers is symbolic and a message to today’s graduating class, our current students, and the growing community of potential students to whom studying in Caleb University is a dream they are hoping would materialize sooner.
“Going through this unique citadel of learning and character development, is a remarkable journey which some begin to appreciate the more when they get out there and discover that the reality they were prepared for, is not about to change, but is so dynamic and manifesting in manifold sophistication, that only those that know their God shall be strong and do exploits.”
Giving the highlights of the graduating students, the VC said compared to409 graduates in 2017, and 477 graduates in 2018, 733 students are graduating at the convocation this year with 24 first class, 235 second class upper division, 255 lower divisions and 30 in third class.
The postgraduate had 19 distinctions, 160 pass with the overall best graduating student this year is OtibhorImuse with CGPA of 4.85 from the college of Pure and Applied Sciences and the overall best graduate at the post graduate level is TemitopeAdedayo-Ojo with CGPA of 4.96.