THE CULTIVATION OF EXCELLENCE: THE EKSU EXPERIENCE (II)
AN ADDRESS PRESENTED AT THE 20TH CONVOCATION CEREMONY OF
EKITI STATE UNIVERSITY
PROFESSOR PATRICK OLADIPO AINA FAS,
VICE-CHANCELLOR, EKITI STATE UNIVERSITY, ADO-EKITI,
SATURDAY, MARCH 21, 2015
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all, on behalf of the Visitor, Senate and the entire staff and students of Ekiti State University to this heart warming occasion, marking the 20th Convocation Ceremony for the award of Higher Degrees and Postgraduate Diplomas. I wish to rejoice with all our graduating students and I congratulate you all on the successful completion of your studies. All of us are very proud to be associated with your success. I also congratulate the parents, families and guardians that have supported and helped you get here today.
Today’s event formalizes the graduation of Three hundred and seven (307) graduating Postgraduate students comprising 47 PhD, 79 Masters, 128 Professional Masters and 53 Post Graduate Diplomas. At the 18th convocation in 2013, I promised that as from then on, all graduands will collect in this hall their certificates during convocation, that promise was fulfilled in 2014 and is fulfilled again today as we have your certificates ready here with me in this Hall.
It is my customary assignment and privilege to offer, at each Convocation, a report on the passing academic year. Since this is the last convocation that I will call in my four year term as the 6th Vice Chancellor, I will give a brief account of my stewardship that has pleased God to allow and bless me with in the saddle. It is not so much about flashing the score cards, but rather it is a sincere thanksgiving to God, since no one calls himself or herself to any service without the benevolent grace of God. To the glory of God, the University continues to record heart-warming accomplishments through judicious deployment and management of human and material resources even as the University is looking ahead and exploring new frontiers to reposition itself as a world-class University. God has indeed been with us. Let me start on a good note that the College of Medicine has now been fully accredited by the National Universities Commission (NUC) while the report of the Medical and Dental Council is still being awaited but with good prognosis. Nothing of such accomplishments could have been achieved without the immense contributions and support of stakeholders. I wish to acknowledge first and foremost our Proprietor and Visitor, Governor Peter Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State for his uncommon and passionate support for the University and his strong conviction in the sanctity of the University system; the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) support for the unprecedented spate of infrastructure development in the University; staff and students, and friends of EKSU, who have supported us in various ways.
The focus of my administration from inception has been on building a culture of academic excellence that is founded on adequate infrastructure and a conducive environment for research, teaching and learning. This goal which has now largely been accomplished has led to the erection of 25 new state-of-the-art buildings and laboratories within and outside the grounds (EKSUTH) of the University, renovation/remodelling of 12 old buildings to get the University’s infrastructure, equipment and teaching and learning resourcesmodernized, renewed and upgraded to world-class standards, reinstatement of municipal facilities (2 industrial boreholes, solar electricity,etc), acquisition of laboratory and engineering workshop equipment, sports facilities and cultivation of corporate social responsibility.
Attaining the goal of building a vibrant academic culture that is characteristic of World Class was also driven by several other successful activities. For example, for the first time in the history of the University, a 5-year (2015-2019) Institutional Strategic Plan has been developed.
Ekiti State University is one of the 58 Universities in Nigeria currently recognized by the National Universities Commission to run Postgraduate Programmes. In Nigeria we are confronted with the problem of succession in the University. With about 146 universities today, using the present figures of enrolment, to have the required teacher student ratio of 1:20, we will need to increase the number of the academic staff in Nigerian universities from the current 26,000 lecturers to 50,000 with minimum required qualification of a doctorate degree. Our University is restructuring and equipping our Postgraduate School and Departments and reviewing our postgraduate programmes to enhance the global competitiveness of our products and to respond positively to the training of postgraduate students for the much needed high level manpower in the country thus contributing to solving the problem of succession in Nigerian Universities. For example, some of the new academic and professional programmes include Masters in Business Administration (MBA) Executive, Postgraduate Diploma, Masters and PhD in Gender and Development Studies, Postgraduate Diploma, Masters and PhD in Social Work (both domiciled in the Centre for Gender and Development Studies), Diploma in Theatre and Media Arts, and Masters and PhD in Peace and Security Studies, Masters in Corporate Governance and Managment, and Masters in Public Sector Governance and Administration. We have re-introduced the Graduate Assistantship scheme to increase our doctoral output and over 25 of our junior academic are in topnotch overseas Universities on various collaborative training programmes leading to PhD degrees. Our academic staff have been well motivated through re-structured and more functional Centre for Research and Development, and a generous TETFund support to positively engage in high quality, impactful research in globally relevant niche areas of Renewable Energy, Food Security, Biotechnology, and Peace and Conflict Studies.
The increasing global reach of the University through many linkage programmes initiated with Universities in the United States of America, United Kingdom, Australia and South Africa that represent beacons of good practice internationally is very promising. The university is also, more than ever before, increasingly arresting and gaining the confidence of the corporate world, attracting many corporate responsibility projects, such as donations of buildings, laptops, medical and law books, sports and scientific research equipment, etc.
The University has responded decisively to funding challenges by diversifying the sources of and increasing the IGR through the establishment of (i) the Advancement Centre to garner external financial support for the university, (ii) Research and Development Office for revenue generation from research outputs, (iii) University (Commercial) Ventures with commercial and investment portfolios, and (iv) University Consultancy Unit.
EKSU alumni community remains a veritable source of strength for the University. With the present attestation of donation of an ultra-modern Student Centre and a Bus to EKSU Students’ Union by Hon Kingsley Kuku, an Alumnus of the University, and the establishment of a Scholarship Scheme for students by the National Alumni Association under the present leadership of Dr M. A. Ayeni, there is resolute commitment by its members to stand by the University to give back part of the full benefits they now enjoy as proud graduates of Ekiti State University. For this, we are grateful and we encourage them to keep up the good work.
Finally, let me once again congratulate the graduands of today and challenge them to live by the creed of their convocation to always be found worthy in learning and character. Only then will they be able to say that their learning and character building years in Ekiti State University have not been a waste. To you all therefore I say, go and explore and conquer the world and may God go with you.
I thank you all for your kind attention.