Chancellor of South Western University, Okun Owa, Ogun State, Engineer Babatunde Adewale Odufuwa made the call at the maiden convocation of the university held at the main campus of the institution, Okun Owa, Odogbolu Local Government Area of Ogun State.
Engineer Odufuwa said private institutions’ investors should be encouraged to do more based on their contributions to reducing the level of illiteracy in the society.
He said state and federal governments, in spite of the enormous budgetary allocations to education, had failed to meet the yearnings of both parents and students.
“Graduates of these private institutions and their parents should be given awards by the government based on the financial inputs they have made in reducing the stress associated with admission into public educational institutions.
“I therefore urge governments at both the federal and state levels to encourage the parents, and give special awards to graduates of private institutions as a form of appreciation.”
Delivering her convocation lecture, Prof Olubukola Monisola Oyawoye from Adeleke University, Ede, Osun State, appraised the roles of private universities in the economic development of the nation when she said that in spite of students enrolment in public varsities, few were given admission based on the availability of space.
“You can imaging the crisis the country will be facing if there are no private institutions to the rescue in this critical area.
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“Private universities in Nigeria are on track to compete favourably with their public counterparts and within the next 25 years, outpace public universities in the overall quality of graduates, using all global measures of academic standards.”
She opined that private universities were good models for discipline of staff and students
“The weak disciplinary culture of many public universities has no place in private universities. Discipline is key to building graduates who will imbibe disciplinary tone in their daily activities. Discipline is important for keeping within the boundaries of the laws, policies, rules and procedures of a university and of the community and nation where the university is located.”.
She added, “In a typical private university, staff and students are under written and unwritten obligations to be disciplined in all things and in all ways. Private universities are proving to be agents of positive change and are looked upon as institutions that produce future generations of disciplined leaders and citizenry.
“Private universities are models for exploring new grounds, Private universities in Nigeria have played leadership roles in innovating courses and exploring new grounds in research and development.
“On the matter of new programmes, private universities have been more preponderant than public ones in proposing new courses which are not captured in the NUC Benchmark Minimum Academic Standards (BMAS)” she stated..
At the maiden convocation, 332 students graduated from two faculties, Science and Management Science, while the institution also gave honorary doctorate degrees to three eminent personalities including the royal father of the town, Oba Gabriel Akinyemi Abiodun.