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OAU VC blames varsities, government for high unemployment rate



• Canvasses production of grads as job creators via agric
The Vice Chancellor of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Professor Eyitope Ogunbodede, said the high rate of unemployment is a result of inability of the government to create jobs and the failure of universities and allied institutions to produce creative and problem-solving graduates who could explore agricultural enterprises.

“We should not blame the government alone for not creating jobs; we must blame universities and other higher institutions of learning for not producing self-employable students,” he said.

He also appealed to the universities, other higher institutions of learning and research institutes to review their curricula to ensure graduates are not only employable but also capable of creating job opportunities.

Ogunbodede made the appeal on Friday while exclusively speaking with The Guardian during the 50th anniversary of the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Ibadan, Oyo State, which is an affiliate of the university.

“Agriculture holds the key, but universities and agricultural research institutes such as IAR&T have a great role to play. When you train students and you do not train them to employ themselves, you are not helping the situation in the country.

“My appeal to every university is to review their curriculum and ensure that they produce graduates that are not only employable, but also can employ themselves,” he said.

He said every Nigerian, no matter he she does, can have a poultry farm, a rice farm or any other farming exercise, saying, “I think that is the direction to go.”

Describing the achievements of IAR&T in 50 years, Ogunbodede said that the institute had become global and phenomenal.

“At the inception, the founding fathers might probably not have envisaged that IAR&T would go global.

“They were actually looking at a research institute that would help the western region to boost its agricultural schemes in the western region through the farm settlements. And they saw the University of Ife as an institution that could serve as a base for them to reach out to the farmers in the region.

“But today, IAR&T is not only in the western region but international. So, the growth has been phenomenal,” he said.

He said the resources to take the findings and the technologies to the farmers reside with the government and the industrial players, not the institutes producing technologies and innovations.

“So, what IAR&T is doing now is to partner with the industry and there have been different agricultural expos and exhibitions to demonstrate research findings and technologies.

“With such initiatives, we will be able to move far ahead. But the ultimate goal is for the federal, state and local governments to partner with the institute and ensure the technologies get the farmers,” he added.

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