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By Gabriel Dike
As the nation’s 38th state university takes off on Sunday, January 7, 2018 with some new students, the Vice Chancellor of The Technical University (TECH-U), Ibadan, Prof. Ayobami Salami, has assured parents and stakeholders that its graduates will be hot cake in the labour market, especially in science, technology and engineering.
Addressing newsmen on the take off of TECH-U, Prof Salami disclosed that TECH-U, an initiative of Governor Abiola Ajimobi , is neither meant to merely balloon the number of universities in Nigeria as the 38th state university, nor is it one that satisfies the yearning for ‘our very own university’ that indigenes of Oyo State can don as a badge of pride.
Flanked by senior management staff such as Registrar, Mr. Alex Oladeji, Bursar, Mr. Kehinde Olatokun, Librarian, Mrs. Buky Asubiojo, Dean, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Prof Remi Ogunfowokun and Dean, Students Affairs, Prof Ajadi, Prof Salami, emphasized that no students will attend TECH-U and remain jobless.
Salami said rather, Tech-U is established to create access to a model of university education and its emergence on the higher education port of the nation is meant to, through the cultivation of a cadre of technical professionals with fitting entrepreneurial skills, and combat the mounting plague of youth unemployment in Nigeria.
‘’At Tech-U, we will present an admixture of theory and practical. We are different from a university of technology because of our rich emphasis on employment-preparation skills. Our focus on the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) disciplines is informed by the need to provide our young people with the knowledge and skills that are applicable to actual world problems.
‘’Available statistics lend credence to the fact that ‘the job growth rate for STEM careers is more than 38 per cent and it is growing rapidly’. STEM careers are also known to yield juicy pays. If Nigeria is to have a fighting chance in the world of socioeconomic development, it cannot afford to disregard the kind of human capacity that the STEM disciplines make possible. I dare say that Tech-U is on a mission to use STEM education to secure a better future for our youths and to midwife Nigeria’s economic development.’’
According to him, the lamentation subsists that many of Nigerian graduates are unemployable owing to inadequacies of their trainings noting that at the point of graduation, a majority of these graduates are considered as not being market-ready.
The VC observed that the gap is attributable in part to the apparent lack of entrepreneurial orientation of several academic programmes in the Nigerian University System, so, Tech-U has a vision to address the employability gaps through entrepreneurial orientation of the average youth.
‘’We are set to provide such quality training that will enable our graduates to be job creators, innovators, and employers of labour. All students admitted to study will compulsorily undergo trainings in two vocations selected by them at our Centre for Entrepreneurial and Vocational Studies. In conflating theory with practice, we expect to produce graduates that are demonstrably rounded in knowledge and sound in skills.
‘’This explains why our motto – developing brains, training hands – is not a seductive catchphrase. Our vision is that no graduate of Tech-U will go about roaming the street in search of jobs. It is either they are so good that the industries hire them straightaway, or they simply establish their own start-ups,” Salami stressed.
Prof Salami revealed that its pioneer students will come on board on Sunday, January 7, thus the take-off of full academic activities stating ‘’both developments – students’ arrival and beginning of full academic undertakings – signpost for us a historic watershed in our organised efforts towards making Tech-U fully operational’’.
The pioneer VC explained that Tech-U will take off with 15 accredited academic programmes by the National Universities Commission (NUC) stating the accreditation meant that the regulatory body was satisfied that it had both the human capacities and the facilities necessary for the admission and training of students in these fields.