Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has spoken against employment standards in universities, pointing out that universities were not established to create jobs, but to advance learning, promote research, and develop cultured students.
He stated this at the 21st Convocation Ceremony of Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma, which held during the weekend at the University’s Auditorium in Edo State, where he was also installed as the visitor of the institution.
The governor noted that many universities had deviated from their primary aim of promoting research and development, and concentrated on employing too many non-academic staff.
“The University needs all levels of supportive staff, but the current practice where the number of non-academic staff outweighs the numbers of academic staff and researchers is not acceptable, not tenable and unsustainable. Universities should, through investment, efficient management of fund, partnership with private and government sectors, grants from internal bodies, and alumni associations, thrive to be self-sustaining”, he advised.
He continued that universities should check waste and corruption and stop relying on the government for subvention, because the government is almost broke, while also tasking them on publication of journals, innovations, and technology advancement of students to make them relevant in the digital age.
Meanwhile, Vice Chancellor of the Institution, Prof Ignatius Onimawo, said the Ivory Tower had achieved numerous successes in the areas of Fibre Optic technology, infrastructural development, Internally Generated revenue as well as accreditation of the 64 programmes of the institution.
He, however, urged the governor to encourage partnership in investments to boost IGR for the school, highlighting other challenges, which were impeding progress, including lack of perimeter fencing, construction and tarring of roads within the campus, building of a VC lodge, completion of the administrative building, and provision of more students’ accommodation.
He further commended the state governor for prompt release of monthly subvention, which, he noted, allowed payment of staff’s salaries as at when due, while the Chancellor of the Ivory Tower, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, attributed the giant strides of the institution to the enabling environment provided by the state.
The Chancellor commended the governor for mobilising the contractors working on the Administrative building back to site noting that the completion of the project would solve the problems of offices for its staff. He also commended the Governing Council, Members of staff and students for the enhancement of peace and unity in the university.
There was also presentation of Honorary degrees on three distinguished Nigerians, which include Chief Tony Elumelu (Business Administration), Dr. Mathew Okpebholo (Engineering) and Dr. Robson Momoh (Literature).
The University awarded Post Graduate Degrees to 130 graduands, with a breakdown of 40 Post Graduate Diplomas, 76 Masters Degrees and 14 Doctorate Degrees, while 2,265 graduands were awarded First Degrees.