By Okafor Ofiebor
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has said Nigerian universities must sack incompetent lecturers if the problems of substandard graduates being churned out by high institutions must be addressed.
He said if universities must improve on the quality of graduates they turn out, teachers who did not possess the right qualification and problem-solving research capability should not be retained by universities.
Wike also suggested that universities curriculum must begin to address the issues of skills, linkages to industries and relevant competences for job creation or self-employment of the graduates.
The governor made this assertion in his address at the 32 convocation and 40th anniversary of the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt on Tuesday.
He said, for the universities to be reckoned internationally as serious citadels of learning, creativity and innovation, stakeholders must find the means to address the problem of declining quality of graduates.
Wike said while the State government would continue to address issues of faculty shortage, the universities must do something serious about their curriculum, quality of teaching staff and research outputs, which must be at par with international standards.
“There is no use employing or keeping on the payroll teachers who do not possess the right qualification, competence, character and commitment to quality teaching and problem-solving research if our universities must improve on the quality of graduates they turn out.”
He stated that the zeal to expand access to tertiary education has informed the unprecedented investments that had been made since he assumed office in 2015 to upgrade and expand educational facilities in the State University.
Wike said his administration has completed and equipped long-abandoned buildings of faculties of Environmental Sciences, Management Sciences, Technical and Science Education, and Law in the University.
He stated that his administration has also initiated the College of Medical Sciences for the institution and approved the conversion of the Braithwaite Memorial Hospital to the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital. In addition, he said medical facilities have been upgraded to the required standard as a first-rate Teaching Hospital.
Wike said funds for the provision of necessary infrastructure and take-off of academic activities in the three new campuses of the University in Emohua, Ahoada and Etche Local Government Area of the State are already provided in the 2021 budget.
“Our responsibility therefore is to ensure that this University develops into becoming one of the best tertiary institutions in the country to serve our people, our nation and mankind,” he said.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof Nlerum Okogbule, disclosed that a total of 5,486 graduands were certified to be worthy in character and in learning.
Among them, are 34 students who bagged first class and 209 Doctor of Philosophy.
He commended the governor for appointing Justice Bage as the 4th Chancellor and expressed hope that his wealth of experience will greatly impact on the running of the affairs of the institution.