My agenda for UNILAG, by VC Ogunsola
The Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos (UNILAG), Prof Folashade Ogunsola has disclosed that her priority is to make the institution future-ready, yielding inquiring minds, discoveries, sound character and globally impactful workforce, while also creating a fit-for-purpose workforce for the nation and world at large.
Ogunsola, who stated this at a press briefing to highlight activities lined up for the institution’s 53rd convocation billed to commence on Friday, January 15, said the university, in its 60 years of existence has excelled in teaching, learning, innovation and entrepreneurship.
While noting that successive administrations have built on successes of their predecessors over the years, Ogunsola, however, lamented that inadequate funding, deplorable infrastructure, huge costs of public utilities services, especially electricity, constant disruptions in academic calendars occasioned by incessant industrial actions, demotivated workforce, inadequate ICT infrastructure, burgeoning student population as a result of massification of higher education without commensurate governmental planning, as well as widespread national insecurity as threats to the university’s existence.
These notwithstanding, Ogunsola said she is poised to tackle the challenges headlong to reposition the institution among the best in the world. To move the institution into the future, the vice chancellor said there must be easy access to its data and synchronisation of different campuses to deliver policies and activities that enhance its productivity, reduce turnaround time, and ease the process of meeting academic expectations and satisfaction of staff, students, alumni, and other stakeholders.
Ogunsola listed her goals to include financial re-engineering for multiple streams of income, investing in human capital, automation, internationalisation and networking, research for development, entrepreneurship and Innovation.
Others include being ranked with the best, enhancing students and staff experience, alumni repositioning, decolonising and celebrating history and yielding inquiring minds.
“The ultimate goal is to enrich and enhance the quality of our students to make them more intellectually nimble, competent, not only for national development, but to shape the future.
If Nigeria’s university system will be returned to its rightful place as the lighthouse that inspires development aspirations, Ogunsola said university managers and all concerned must begin to think anew and walk the talk.
“We enjoin all stakeholders to come with us on this journey. Let us become the knowledge and innovation hub of Africa and the world with our distinctive and unique flavour,”she added.
Meanwhile, an octogenarian and veteran journalist, Dayo Duyile, is among the 2,251 postgraduate students at its forthcoming 53rd convocation ceremonies.
The ceremonies, will, for the first time in many years, feature no single undergraduate among the graduating students. Ogunsola said this is as a result of the prolonged industrial actions by Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) that paralysed academic and administrative activities across major Nigerian public universities in 2022.
Meanwhile, apart from Mr Duyile, another 82-year-old grandmother, Obiageli Okonji, will also be receiving her Master’s certificate. While Mr Duyile will receive his PhD certificate in Mass Communications, Okonji will graduate from the Guidance and Counselling Department in the Faculty of Education.
Ogunsola, a Professor of Medical Microbiology, who was appointed the institution’s pioneer female vice-chancellor in November 2022, would be conducting the first convocation ceremonies in her capacity as VC.
The vice-chancellor described Duyile’s feat as nostalgic, saying the media practitioner and scholar witnessed the foundation-laying ceremony of the university in 1962 as a reporter.
Ogunsola said the prolonged strike made it impossible for the university to churn out undergraduate students, thanked the workers for their dedication and commitment to the university project despite the industrial action.
She said despite the nationwide strike and without being paid, UNILAG workers still dedicated their time and energy towards ensuring that postgraduate students were attended to.
She said: “The eight months industrial action by university unions was a great setback to scholarship and if not for doggedness of the Senate of the University, we would not have been here today. To members of Senate here present, I salute your commitment, which has ensured that we have graduating students to celebrate at this year’s Special Convocation Ceremony.
“As a result of these challenges, the university will be conferring only Postgraduate diplomas, Masters and Doctorate degrees as well as the University of Lagos Gold Medal honourary awards at this convocation. A total of 2,251 graduating students will receive their degrees, diplomas and certificates; out of this number, 67 will receive Postgraduate diplomas; 2,119 will receive Masters degrees, while 65 will receive Doctorate degrees.”
She said the ceremonies would begin on Friday with the inauguration of a telemedicine project at the university’s College of Medicine, Idi Araba. This will be followed by her investiture as the 13th vice chancellor on Tuesday, followed by the convocation lecture, which will be delivered by the Managing Partner of Grand Central Africa, Chinenye Mba-Uzoukwu.