By Obioma C. Appolos
With the recent alarming figures of 21.7 million Nigerians being unemployed according to the National Bureau of Statistics, and in consideration to the International Labour Organization’s widely canvased suitable-skill-oriented better future of work, the newly appointed Vice Chancellor (VC) of the Kwara State University (KWASU), Malete, Prof. Muhammed Mustapha Akanbi, has said that it is pointless for universities in the country to graduate first class students who have no additional job-enabling skills.
The Vice Chancellor, who is also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), said that KWASU in view to providing a solution to the jobless situation many Nigeria youths face after graduation, decided to make it a norm to produce graduates that are readily engaged in one job-enabling skill/trade or the other before and after graduation.
Prof. Akanbi, who is one of the youngest Vice Chancellors in the country, stated this in a chat with newsmen in Abuja, when he led the management team of the institution in a working visit to some select government agencies in Abuja to mobilise support for the University.
He noted that KWASU which already has an existing centre for entrepreneurship would soon roll out academic programmes that ensure all its students are exposed to state-of-the-art skills in computing and at the same time understand at least one foreign language to prepare them for the 21st century’s challenges.
The former Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Ilorin (UNILORIN) said: “Our university is a university of community development and entrepreneurship. I like the fact that you appreciate what we are doing with entrepreneurship; that centre is being rejigged and rejuvenated. It is now called the centre for vocational, technical and entrepreneurship because we don’t want to teach entrepreneurship just in theory. We get our students involved in vocational things and the technical aspects.
“Already, we encourage out students to engage different entrepreneur skills, acquire, hold and consider all certificates important. It does not make any sense if you are a first class student and you are looking for a job. And I mean First class in any programme.”
On grooming the University’s students to be self-reliant instead of job seekers after graduation, Prof. Akanbi said KWASU, renowned for its entrepreneurial prowess, has a programme that makes it mandatory for every student to own a business.
“You will see students engage in things like making face masks, face shields, hand sanitizers, some are into tailoring, some are into carpentry, some are into what I call mechanical automobile repair and things like that. And in the past, the CAC has given awards to our students because we are talking of every year almost 2,000 students registering with the CAC because when you come in, it is expected that it is not going to be only a classroom thing,” the VC said.
Speaking further, Prof. Akanbi, who assumed office as VC on 1st April, 2020, expressed his readiness to reposition the University for better performance.
“My plan is to move KWASU to a lofty height better than I found it, and to achieve this broad mandate, I intend to one; ensure a conducive learning environment. I also intend to pursue quality-based research. One of the things we want to encourage is that research should not just be for research sake, we don’t want our research work to end up on the shelves. Our research would be geared towards finding solutions to contemporary challenges,” Prof. Akanbi said.
The Kwara State University (KWASU), Malete, has expressed its readiness to ensure its students participate more actively in the nation’s Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sub-sector.
Furthermore, the Vice Chancellor said the that University will leverage on the recently amended Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), to ensure the institution’s students float more businesses.
“Every student that gets admitted into KWASU is expected to start business, a registered business,” the Professor of Law told newsmen in Abuja at the weekend.
“President Buhari just assented to the new CAMA after about 30years and that had helped the quality of the ease of doing business. KWASU has started certain policies that this new CAMA is going to help to ensure that our students register a business enterprise, like a trade which you will register with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) so that what we teach you in class you are able to start it while in school.
“You will see students engaged in things such as making face masks, face shields, hand sanitizers. Some are into tailoring, some are into carpentry, some are into what I call mechanical automobile repair and things like that,” the VC said.
Professor of Law added that that students of KWASU have on several occasions won awards from CAC as a result of their business acumen.
“I have just been reminded that in the past the CAC has given awards to our students because we are talking of every year almost 2,000 students registering with the CAC, because when you come in it is expected that it is not going to be only a classroom thing; so we take you through some technical, some provisional, some pure business enterprises,” he added.
The VC said the motive behind the University’s entrepreneurship scheme is to raise an army of graduates who are job creators instead of those that would be in need of employment after graduation.
“The plan is that we don’t want students who will graduate and go and meet their parents that they are looking for a job. We want a wealth creator, we are not looking for students who just want to work in government sector but students who can start their own businesses and become entrepreneurs in their own rights,” Prof. Akanbi averred.