By Dayo Adesulu
The Commissioner for Higher Education, Delta State, Dr Hope Eghagha has maintained that university education is a very important public service deserving the attention of all, from governments to corporate organizations and public spirited individuals since government alone cannot fund education.
He made this assertion recently during his familiarization visit to Novena University, Ogume, Delta State in line with the policy of Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan to integrate all sectors of the economy and ensure growth and development in the state.
Eghagha pointed out that, the Delta State government on its own part subsidizes education to the tune of 70 per cent per Delta student. According to him, in spite of that gesture, no government has been able to meet up with the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) prescribed 26 per cent government budgetary allocation to the funding of education annually.
The Commissioner however commended government initiative in licensing private universities as this has helped in bringing education nearer to the people and creating more opportunities for our education thirsty youths. Eghagha challenged interested organizations and individuals to build more universities as well as institute scholarship programmes in existing universities as a way of curbing youthâ€™s restiveness and bringing development closer to the grassroots.
During his tour of the universityâ€™s facilities and one-on-one chat with students, the Commissioner commended the universityâ€™s ICT development which he said was a step beyond the level attained by most other universities he had visited.
Eghagha was particularly impressed by the evidence of solar power experiments developed by Professor Ephraim Aniebona at the universityâ€™s Science Department. He lamented the total darkness under which most of our universities read.
According to the Commissioner, â€œthe solar experiment of Novena University provides a source of hope for the future of this country.â€ He therefore urged the university to send a proposal on the commercial viability of the solar project to him for government consideration.
Also speaking, Professor Eze JMO, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Novena University maintained that, as the first private university in the state, the institution is one of the foremost providers of university education and human resource development in the state. He therefore called on the state government to come to the aid of the university to enable it perform its essential public service of educating the youths and making them useful citizens to themselves and the country at large.
Eze noted that the university operates a collegiate system with provosts as heads of the three colleges presently run by the institution which include, College of Management and Social Sciences.
His words:Â â€œNovena University has created very unique programmes to cater for the needs of its immediate university environment, the Niger Delta region. Some of these programmes which are unique to the institution include: Energy and Petroleum Studies, Intelligence and Security Studies and Public and Community Health.â€
He however appealed to government for assistance to enable Novena adequately perform its essential public service for the benefit of all. The Pro-chancellor of the university, Mr. Chuks Ochonogor thanked the Commissioner for the visit as he also commended the Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan administration for creating an enabling environment for development to thrive in the state.
Ochonogor nevertheless appealed to the governor to assist the young university with infra-structural support as well as the provision of modern facilities and equipment that are crucial to giving our youths the best education possible.