By Jacob Akintunde, Akure
President Muhammadu Buhari has charged universities to engage more meaningfully and intensely with employers of labour and the organized private sector in order to address the much talked about lack of job readiness with qualified graduates for Nigeria manpower.
President Buhari gave the disclosure at the weekend at the 31st convocation ceremony of the Federal University of Technology, Akure.
According to him, universities are expected to pay serious attention at making sure that more qualified and capable graduates are shun-out as employees for the labour market.
Buhari who was represented by the Deputy Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission, Dr. Rahman Yusuf said government shall do all that is necessary to support the realization of the laudable objectives of triple helix partnership between academia-industry and government through appropriate policy frameworks, the provision of various incentives among other strategies.
His words, “We remain committed at making the Nigerian economy more robust through various policy interventions including executive orders.I urge Nigerian universities to intensify their engagement with industry particularly the small and medium scale enterprises which are the drivers and sustainer’s of our economy.
“We cannot be comfortable when products of our citadels of higher learning are being described as unemployable exhibiting lack of job readiness and so on issues of graduate employability and skills are pertinent issues gaining traction nationally and internationally and are prominent on the front burners of discourse on higher education and the future of work”.
Delivering his address, the Vice Chancellor of the institution, Professor Joseph Fuwape said a total of 153 students bagged First Class degrees while 1514 bagged Second Class Upper and 216 students had Third Class and 15 with Pass out of the 3110 graduands.
According to him, Saheed Adesile Lawal of the Department of Physiology emerged the overall best graduating student for the 2018/2019 academic session with Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 4.92.
He said that the School of Postgraduates studies will also be presenting 122 graduands for Ph.D. while 720 and 517 will get Masters and PGD respectively.
Fuwape said the 2018/2019 academic session has been very eventful in spite of the ubiquitous challenge of inadequate funding which the university had to contend with.
This according to him, has compelled the university to introduce strict financial control measures aimed at ensuring prudent use of the limited funds.
“We adopted the concept of doing so much with so little in realization of the scare financial resources available to the university”, he said.
Commenting on the staff welfarism and development, Fuwape said that the university would continue to provide resources to improve the welfare of staff within the available funds and devise mutually acceptable staff development welfare scheme.
He therefore encouraged the graduands to remain focused and diligent in order to occupy the prime positions of leadership in the country.
Honorary degree award was conferred on Mr. Ananou Gabin Kouevi of the African Climate Competence Centres in the Management Agency of the Department of Environment, Culture and Sustainability, from Germany for his contribution to the programme in Nigeria, West and Southern African sub-regions.