Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike says if universities must improve on the quality of graduates they turn out, teachers who do not possess the right qualification and problem-solving research capability should not be retained by universities.
He has also suggested that the university curriculum must begin to address the issues of skills, linkages to industries and relevant competencies for job creation or self-employment of the graduates.
Governor Wike made this assertion in his address at the 32nd convocation and 40th anniversary of the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt on Tuesday.
He said for the universities to be reckoned internationally as serious citadels of learning, creativity and innovation, stakeholders must find the means to address the problem of declining quality of graduates.
Governor Wike said while the state government will continue to address issues of faculty shortage, the universities must do something serious about their curriculum, quality of teaching staff and research outputs, which must be at par with international standards.
“There is no use employing or keeping on the payroll teachers who do not possess the right qualification, competence, character and commitment to quality teaching and problem-solving research if our universities must improve on the quality of graduates they turn out.”
He stated that the zeal to expand access to tertiary education has informed the unprecedented investments that have been made since he assumed office in 2015 to upgrade and expand educational facilities in the State University.
Governor Wike said his administration has completed and equipped long-abandoned buildings of faculties of Environmental Sciences, Management Sciences, Technical and Science Education and Law in the University.
He stated that his administration has also initiated the College of Medical Sciences for the institution and approved the conversion of the Braithwaite Memorial Hospital to the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital. In addition, he said medical facilities have been upgraded to the required standard as a first-rate Teaching Hospital.
Governor Wike said funds for the provision of necessary infrastructure and take-off of academic activities in the three new campuses of the University in Emohua, Ahoada and Etche Local Government Areas of the state are already provided in the 2021 budget.
“Our responsibility therefore is to ensure that this University develops into becoming one of the best tertiary institutions in the country to serve our people, our nation and mankind.” Governor Wike congratulated His Royal Highness, Hon. Justice Sidi Bage (rtd), Emir of Lafia and Chairman, Nasarawa State Council of Chiefs, on his appointment and investiture as the new Chancellor of the University.
The governor revealed that he did not hesitate to endorse the recommendation for his appointment which is expected to help the University to attain new heights as a university of values, high learning, research and service.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof Nlerum Okogbule, disclosed that a total of 5486 graduands were certified to be worthy in character and in learning. Among them, are 34 students who bagged first class and 209 Doctor of Philosophy.
He commended the governor for appointing Justice Bage as the 4th Chancellor and expressed hope that his wealth of experience will greatly impact on the running of the affairs of the institution. Justice Bage (rtd.) thanked Governor Wike for counting him worthy to be Chancellor of the University and assured him that he will use the opportunity to advance the frontiers the rich impartation of knowledge for which the institution is reputed.
The Pro-Chancellor, Hon Justice Iche N. Ndu (rtd) said Governor Wike will be remembered for his monumental feat in initiating the College of Medical Sciences of the University and recruiting some of the best brains in medical field to run the college.