By Dayo Adesulu
STUDENTS who just graduated from the University of Lagos have been advised to become self-reliant and employer of labour instead of roaming about the streets in search of the elusive white collar jobs.

The Vice Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Tolu Odugbemi gave this counsel on Wednesday last week during the 2008/2009 graduation ceremony when over 6,000 students graduated, out of which 87 of them made First Class Honours.

•Prof Tolu Odugbemi, VC, Unilag.

Explaining that the graduating students have been adequately trained to face the challenges of the world of work, Odugbemi said that their ultimate aim is to become employers of labour even if they find themselves in paid employment, saying that “graduates of the University of Lagos are smart minds who can compete favourably with their counterparts anywhere in the world.”

According to the VC, arrangements are now at advanced stage by the Distance Learning Institute (DLI) of the university to offer eight new programmes. The new programmes are B.Sc. Economics; Computer Science; Environmental Science; Nursing; Marine Biology; Fisheries; Microbiology and Public Administration. The new programmes would take off once they are approved by the University Senate, adding that the six existing programmes offered by the DLI have received full accreditation by the National Universities Commission (NUC).

Beside, according to Odugbemi, the Federal Government has also sited the tele-medicine and tele-education components of the Pan-African e-Network Project in the University of Lagos. The Pan-African e-Network Project is an initiative of the President of India, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, to use Indian expertise in Information Technology to bring benefits of healthcare and higher education to countries of Africa.

The Satellite and Fibre Network project will provide effective communication and connectivity among 53 nations of Africa who are signatories to the project. The project has three components. These are tele-education, tele-medicine and WIP link. The Honourable Minister of Information and Communications, Professor Dora Akunyili, ofr was at the University of Lagos to inaugurate the Nigerian arm of the project.

With this initiative, says the Vice Chancellor, Nigeria will be able to extend to Indian hospitals advances which Nigeria has made  in tropical medicines  and India too will be able to share knowledge with Nigerian medical scholars and thereby save cost of travelling among people of the two countries.

Undergraduates and postgraduate students will also benefit from the project, which will further strengthen relations between Nigeria and India. The project will also make it possible for 53 universities and 53 hospitals, plus five regional university centres and five special hospitals in Africa to be connected via satellite, fibre optics and wireless links to 12 Indian super specialist hospitals and seven Indian universities. Each host country like Nigeria will have one university and one hospital connected to the network.

Odugbemi said the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), having declared the department of mass communication, University of Lagos, as one of the 12 centres of excellence in media training in Africa and the only one in Nigeria for that matter, has continuously supported capacity building in the department, by training and re-training the staff and upgrading equipment in studios and laboratory.

A new complex  next to the mass communication building is being equipped through donations from UNESCO, Open Society Initiative of West Africa (QSIWA), and Complete Sports, a media organization.

The facility also provides a 50-seater lounge, fully air-conditioned with digital media equipment where students can update themselves with breaking news, on-line journalism, daily newspapers and magazines,  adding that the facility is being upgraded this year by UNESCO with training equipment, textbooks and reference materials to the tune of $30,000.00.

For the first time in history, says the VC, the university has introduced the directorate system of administration. Under the new arrangement, directors were appointed to head the Directorate of Personnel Affairs, Vice-Chancellor’s Office, Office of Advancement, Directorate of General Administration, Directorate of Property and Investment, Directorate of Academic Affairs, Directorate of Final Accounts, Directorate of Treasury and Directorate of Budget, Planning and Control.

The University of Lagos and the Federal College of Education (FCE) Technical, Akoka under the auspices of the Science and Technology Education Post Basic Project (Step-B) partnered with the University of Maryland, the World Bank and other organizations on a project that focuses on the professional development and re-training of science and technology teachers at the two institutions.

The thrust of the activity is to train teachers at the two post basic educational institutions in promoting and enhancing teaching and research in Information, Communication and Technology (ICT). Teachers from the two institutions have benefited immensely from the project, Odugbemi noted.

He said there was an official launch of the Wireless Metropolitan Area Network (WiMAN) recently, adding that the University of Lagos WiMAN project is a joint initiative with AMB Multiserve Limited primarily to provide the University with Cisco-based wireless communication across the three campuses (Main campus, Akoka, College of Medicine, Idi-Araba and former School of Radiography, Yaba) of the University.

Odugbemi added that Unilag has continued to enjoy support from government, private sector and religious organizations noting that, the Mountain of Fire and Miracle Ministries (MFM), through its General Overseer, Dr Olukoya, recently donated a Central Research Laboratory to the University, stressing that work is in progress on the laboratory valued at N150 million.

Also, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God was not left out in the quest by religious organizations to contribute their quota to the development of the university as the church endowed a N50 million professorial chair in mathematics to the institution.


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