Vice-Chancellor (VC), First Technical University Ibadan (TECH-U), Prof Ayobami Salami, says Nigeria needs the kind of disruptive education model the institution offers to address the problem of under development.
In just over a year since beginning academic activities January 2018, Salami said the university’s policy to implement its curriculum with the active participation of experts in the private sector was yielding positive fruits.
As a result, he said its two sets of about 400 students were taught by a mix of local and foreign scholars and experts who challenge them to be innovative, think critically and entrepreneurially.
Speaking on what set the institution apart, Ayobami said in an interview: “We have clearly positioned ourselves as a unique institution of higher learning cut-out from the pack of Nigeria’s increasingly saturated tertiary education space. Although we are a public institution, we are one with a difference. We seek to equip our students with relevant skill-sets they require to stand-out among their peers. This explains why it is mandatory for all of you to acquire an additional foreign language, get certified in at least two relevant vocations of your choice, and meet all conditions for the award of a diploma in entrepreneurship programme after series of interface with top-class industry experts who will prepare you ready for the world of work. As I say often, none of our student will ever become a liability to the society.
“Worthy of mention also, is the budding partnership the University enjoys with the organised private sector. This, for a start, culminated into a Curriculum Review session that had in attendance such notable organisations as the Nigeria Employers Consultative Council (NECA), Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) and a host of other reputable industry leaders. The benefit of that programme, I must say, has been quite invaluable, as it enabled the University to benefit in no small measures from the critical input of these players in shaping our curriculum and preparing the students for the world of work. We are glad and excited that we already have on-board a number of these topflight professionals signed-up as our facilitators; with many more joining the growing list soon. Of course, it needs to be underscored, once again, that at Tech-U the balance of instruction is shared 60 to 40 percent between our experienced academics and industry hands, respectively.”
Salami said the institution has its eyes on grooming students for the global job market and had begun establishing collaborations with reputable foreign institutions to enhance this dream.
Already, the VC said TECH-U has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Texas Technical University in the United States that would allow students spend a full semester in the U.S.
“TECH-U places more than a casual emphasis on partnerships. The partnership with the globally renowned University, Texas Tech University in the United States of America allows an exchange of staff and students. Henceforth, interested students of this University will be eligible to spend a full academic session at Texas Tech during their third session and may subsequently return there for postgraduate studies. As far as we know, such opportunity is not available in any other Nigerian University,” he said.
Students and their parents say they are enjoying the TECH-U experience. If there is anything that its students appreciate, it is the rigorous classes that sharpen their critical thinking skills and gives plenty room for practice.
Precious Omodunbi, who is studying Agricultural Engineering, said she loved the experience.
“Learning at the Technical University is a great and awesome experience that involves the developing of minds and the training of hands. Tech-U students are trained to be a responsible future leaders, creative inventors, innovators and ingenious entrepreneurs. Learning at the Technical University is based on an admirable blend of theory and practice,” she said.
Blessing Adedokun, a Biomedical Engineering student, said: “Tech-U lecturers are amazing. They adopt every possible method to make learning easier. I must confess that ever since I came to this university, my critical thinking skills have improved. The interaction between lecturers and students can be compared to the relationship between father and son. The students relate easily with the lecturers and this makes it easier to assimilate and ask questions in class”.
A parent, Mrs. Gbemisola Morolayo Adegbuyi, said her son had become more independent after a session at Tech-U.
“I am so happy that my son, IleriOluwa Adegbuyi is one of the pioneer students of Tech-U. The institution has really rubbed-off on him. I noticed a lot of changes in his reasoning pattern; he now argues more logically and objectively. He’s also more independent, as he thinks more on what he can do by himself rather than being pushed around, unlike before,” she said.
Since it debuted only barely two years ago, the First Technical University (Tech-U), Ibadan, appears to be one institution determined to make a difference. From its array of innovative courses reflective of urgent societal needs, its radical model of entrepreneurship training, to its largely daring financing model, there are certainly useful lessons that many conventional Universities in the country may glean from this emerging giant.
The University took off in 2017 with the faculties of Engineering and Technology and Natural and Applied Sciences, setting smart goals to achieve its rather ambitious vision of a world-class centre of learning that is fully grounded in entrepreneurial practices and sustainability science.
Tech-U has pioneered a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model as a means of self-sustainability. For the two years of its existence, the university has been financially-independent in terms of salaries and overhead expenses, despite being wholly owned by Oyo State government. Its innovative approach to attracting funding and support and its transparency has been highly commended by boardroom gurus and this is attracting more support in form of scholarships, donations and endowments.
Not only this, the University has introduced a commendable student financing scheme, a scholarship pool, now worth over a billion Naira. This has created opportunity for brilliant but indigent students to keep up in their studies. One of the scholarships is the Josephus Foundation Scholarship, graciously endowed by Chief Tunde Afolabi, the Chancellor of the University. This is a partial annual scholarship to the tune of N650,000 per beneficiary and covers tuition, accommodation and some other fees. To enjoy the privilege till graduation, beneficiaries are expected to maintain a cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 3.5. It is therefore a means of stimulating academic excellence among the students.
Also, it is crossing the frontier into self-sustenance, at a time most public institutions are plagued by underfunding.
Driven by mercurial administrators, the university has a total of 15 academic programmes approved by the National Universities Commission (NUC). Some of these programmes include Mechatronics Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Food Science and Technology, Cyber Security, Computer Science, Software Engineering, Physics with Electronics, Petroleum Engineering, Industrial Chemistry and Statistics.
To keep the tempo of excellence, the university employs a mix of first-rate teaching and experienced non-teaching staff, with modern classrooms fitted with air-conditioners to make learning enjoyable.
It parades list of brilliant administrators, led by the chancellor, Chief Tunde Afolabi MFR, who has over 40 years’ experience in business management, entrepreneurship and international finance and currently the chairman of AMNI International Petroleum Development Company Limited, a leading petroleum exploration and production company.
The Pro Chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council of Tech-U, Professor OyewusiIbidapo-Obe, was a former Vice Chancellor of University of Lagos. He is an outstanding professor of system engineering with an impressive track record as a research leader. Members of the governing council are also outstanding professionals: Mrs.IbukunAwosika, chairman, FirstBank Plc.; Professor TunjiOlaopa, an accomplished public administration scholar; Mr Jacob Ajekiigbe, notable entrepreneur and former Managing Director of FirstBank Plc., and a host of other leading industry minds.
Professor Ayobami Salami, the pioneer Vice Chancellor of Tech-U, is a renowned academic and environmental scientist whose experience spans the domains of research, mentorship, and environmental consultancy. A product of the prestigious Lagelu Grammar School, Ibadan, obtained his B.Sc (Geography) with Second Class Upper Division from the University of Ife (now ObafemiAwolowo University) in 1986. He holds a Ph.D degree with specialisation in Space Applications and Land Use/Natural Resources Management (1996). Aside his many academic exploration, he had a brief stint in the private sector as the Senior Research Adviser on Environmental Assessment, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC).
Speaking on the uniqueness of the institution at the last matriculation ceremony, the Vice Chancellor, Professor Salami, said: “As Nigeria’s first and only technical university, we are very proud of our position. This is because we realise that to bring about the sort of development that Nigeria, and indeed the rest of Africa needs to navigate the peculiar labyrinth of under-development, what is required is a new, bold and positively disruptive model of education that not only emphasises creative interrogation of theoretical frameworks, but one that constantly seeks to create enduring solutions and alternative developmental paradigms for confronting societal problems.”
The drive, as espoused by Professor Salami, has kept the university going. The university has continued to take bold initiatives to stay afloat and impact the Nigerian economy. The institution has, thus, clearly positioned itself as a unique institution of higher learning cut out from the pack of Nigeria’s increasingly saturated tertiary education space. As a public institution, it seeks to equip its students with relevant skill-sets they require to stand-out among peers. For any student of the institution, it is mandatory to acquire an additional foreign language, get certified in at least two relevant vocations of choice and meet all conditions for the award of a diploma in entrepreneurship programme after series of interface with top-class industry experts who prepare them ready for the world of work.
The institution, though public-owned, has continued to enjoy stable academic calendar and it is also meeting its infrastructural requirements. It has continuously put in place new facilities that accommodate the expanding needs of the university, with regular power supply. The institution has recorded many other achievements. It has bridged the relationship between the town and gown. This engagement is aptly reflected in inclusive curriculum design and review, teaching opportunities for outstanding professionals across industry divides, sub-contracting of municipal services and development-oriented research for mutually beneficial impact.
The university also enjoys budding partnership with the organised private sector. This, for a start, culminated into a Curriculum Review session that had in attendance notable organisations as the Nigeria Employers Consultative Council (NECA), Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) and a host of other reputable industry leaders.
The benefit of the programme, according to the Vice Chancellor, Professor Salami, has been quite invaluable, as it enabled the university to benefit in no small measures from the critical input of these players in shaping the curriculum and preparing the students for the world of work.
“We are glad and excited that we already have on-board a number of these topflight professionals signed-up as our facilitators; with many more joining the growing list soon. Of course, it needs to be underscored, once again, that at Tech-U the balance of instruction is shared 60 to 40 per cent between our experienced academics and industry hands, respectively.
Its Technical, Vocational Entrepreneurship Training (TVET) empowerment programme, another feat of the university, is specifically directed at stemming the tide of rising youth unemployment in Nigeria, as it devotes the programme to equipping young people with skills acquisition and entrepreneurship training in carefully-selected areas of needs in the larger society. The target is to empower 1,000 Nigerian youths between January and December 2019. So far, 374 youths have been trained based on partnership with public-spirited individuals, non-governmental organisations, private sector and government agencies. Those already trained include 154 Niger Delta youths under the sponsorship of Federal Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
For those who desire and can afford it, the university also entered into agreements with foreign universities as a way of further expose its students to educational practices and opportunities elsewhere. To this end, the university has an agreement with Texas Technical University (TTU), Lubbok, United States and Girne American University, Cyprus (GAU). Students will be able to spend one year at Lubbok and transfer the credit back to earn Tech-U degree. This qualifies beneficiaries for direct admission to postgraduate studies at Lubbok. The partnership with GAU is a cost-sharing agreement that allows students to undergo part of their training at Tech-U and complete their studies and earn degree from GAU.
The inputs are, however, yielding as its modest effort attracted global attention, causing it to be listed as the 43rd out of 252 higher institutions ranked in the country as of February, 2019 by Webometric. Notably, Tech-U came atop of several first, second and third generation universities in Nigeria, an attestation to its promising outlook and unwavering commitment to changing the narrative in the Nigerian education landscape.
“Gradually, we are building a presence; we are creating a new hub of activities in this environment. We are still at the initial stage; in the next two to three years, you’d see our footprints boldly on ground,” Professor Salami asserted, while describing the initial success story as an eye-opener to the greater achievements still coming.
In a show of its acknowledged trailblazing in innovation, impact and excellence within the first year of commencement of academic programmes, Nigeria’s premier Technical University, First Technical University (Tech-U) has emerged as one of the leading Universities in Nigeria according to the latest Webometric ranking.
In the current ranking, Tech-U came out clear ahead of long-established private, State and Federal Universities.
Coming in less than two years of its operations, Tech-U is ranked 43rd out of a total number of 252 universities ranked in the country. The parameters deployed are impact rank, web presence, openness rank and excellence rank.
As obtained from http://www.webometrics.info/en/Africa/Nigeria, Tech-U trumped many other older Nigerian institutions with its aggregate point of 4050 to emerge as one of the most impactful Universities in the country.
Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi has put to rest the controversy surrounding the ownership of The First Technical University, Ibadan.
The institution, he said, belongs to the state government wholly and not any individual, including himself.
The governor made the clarification while receiving traditional rulers in the state, led by Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, who were on a courtesy visit to his office, on Monday.
Among the royal fathers on the entourage drawn from the six zones of the state were Eleruwa of Eruwa, Oba Samuel Adegbola; Aseyin of Iseyin, Oba Abdul-Ganiy Salawudeen; Olugbon of Orile-Igbon, Oba Francis Olusola; and Balogun of Ibadanland, Oba Owolabi Olakulehin.
Ajimobi also used the occasion to avail the royal fathers of his administration’s achievements in education, agriculture, peace, security and infrastructure, among others in the last eight years.
He said the state government had not expended any fund on the establishment of the university till date, as all the structures in the institution’s premises were built by foreign donors and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“People are expected to talk, especially when they lack proper information but if we fail to dispel the rumour, it may stick and become the truth.
“I want to say without any equivocation that I do not own the Technical University, Ibadan.
“It belongs to Oyo State Government wholly. It is easy for people to come up with such rumour because of the successful establishment of the university.
“It is the first of its kind in Nigeria and we are happy that we succeeded in achieving this in our time.
“Nobody believed we could achieve it, especially during a period the country was grappling with economic challenges.”
He added: “Oyo State has had no financial input in the establishment of the university till date.
“All what you see there were done by lovers of the state, indigenes living abroad, international institutions and the CBN.”
He urged other well-meaning individuals and corporate bodies to also support the university through construction of structures like students’ hostels, halls, block of classrooms, amphitheatre and sports complex, all of which he said could be named after the donors.
The governor expressed appreciation to the traditional rulers for their unflinching support for his administration in the last eight years, which he said had contributed to the success so far recorded.
Oba Adeyemi said there was no institution that could correctly appraise the achievements of any administration in any state than traditional rulers.
He said the election of Ajimobi for two consecutive terms was a testimony of people’s love and support for him and their acknowledgement of his administration’s success in some critical areas like education, health and infrastructure.
The First Technical University, Ibadan, Oyo State, has trained about 154 Libya returnees and Niger Delta youths in a bid to reduce youth restiveness and rising unemployment in the country.
This was made public during the closing ceremony of a two-week intensive Youth Empowerment Programme facilitated by the Technical Vocational Education and Training board and sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
The Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof Ayobami Salami, said the youth empowerment programme was one of the institution’s flagship interventions aimed at fighting the rising scourge of unemployment.
He said, “As implemented by the university’s Centre for Technical, Vocational Entrepreneurship Training, the programme is devoted to equipping individuals with skills and entrepreneurship training in carefully-selected areas of needs in the larger society. Besides commitment to bridging the yawning skills gap, the programme is focused on generating self-employment among the teeming youths of the country.
“Tech-U holds the conviction that a truly productive nation must be pivoted on sustained and strategic investment in human capital development. Therefore, this programme, in addition to the other unique offerings anchored on the innovative model of education we are known as a socially responsible corporate entity reflects our avowed commitment to making Nigeria work by getting her young people empowered for wealth creation.”
The VC also disclosed that since the commencement of the initiative, about 350 youths had been trained in diverse skills, saying the institution’s target was to have at least 1,000 beneficiaries before the end of 2019.
Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, has put to rest the controversy surrounding the ownership of the first Technical University otherwise known as Tech-U, Ibadan.
He said the institution belonged to the state government wholly and not any individual, including himself.
The governor made the clarification while receiving the state’s traditional rulers, led by the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, who were on a courtesy visit to his office, on Monday.
Other traditional rulers drawn from the six zones of the state were Eleruwa of Eruwa, Oba Samuel Adegbola; Aseyin of Iseyin, Oba Abdul-Ganiy Salawudeen; Olugbon of Orile-Igbon, Oba Francis Olusola; and Balogun of Ibadanland, Oba Owolabi Olakulehin.
Ajimobi said the state government had not expended any fund on the establishment of the university till date, as all the structures in the institution’s premises were built by foreign donors and the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Ajimobi said, “Let me use this opportunity to dispel the rumour going around that I’m the owner of The First Technical University, Ibadan. People are expected to talk, especially when they lack proper information, but if we fail to dispel the rumour, it may stick and become the truth.
“I want to say without any equivocation that I do not own the Technical University, Ibadan. It belongs to Oyo State Government wholly. It is easy for people to come up with such rumour because of the successful establishment of the university.
“It is the first of its kind in Nigeria, and we are happy that we succeeded in achieving this in our time. Nobody believed we could achieve it, especially during a period the country was grappling with economic challenges.
“Oyo State has had no financial input in the establishment of the university till date. All that you see there were done by lovers of the state, indigenes living abroad, international institutions and the CBN.”
A total of 157 youths from the Niger Delta have completed a two-week intensive training at First Technical University (Tech-U), Ibadan.
In a statement, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the university, Femi Babatunde, said the youth empowerment programme was a product of a partnership between the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and the university.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of the training, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Usani, represented by the Director, Economic Empowerment, Mr. Ibrahim Akanya, noted that the empowerment was necessitated by the need to develop the manpower capacity of the Niger Delta.
Pastor Usani said, “We are interested in developing both physical infrastructure and human capital to be able to enhance significantly the quality of living in the Niger Delta region.”
While commending Tech-U for the quality of training given to the beneficiaries, some of who are recent returnees from Libya, Mr. Usani urged the participants to put to good use the skills they had acquired. The beneficiaries were trained in agro-allied ventures such as fishery and poultry, in addition to a host of innovative skills required for successful business operations.
The Vice Chancellor of Tech-U, Prof. Ayobami Salami, said the programme was one of the flagship interventions conceived to fight frontally the rising scourge of unemployment in the country.
Prof. Salami said, “The training, as implemented by the university’s Centre for Technical, Vocational Entrepreneurship Training (TVET), is devoted to equipping individuals with skills acquisition and entrepreneurship training in carefully selected areas of need in the larger society. Aside commitment to bridging the skills gap, the programme is focused on generating self-employment among the teeming youths of the country.
First Technical University (Tech-U), Ibadan, Oyo State, is a visionary‘s idea. The institution’s Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ayobami Salami, acknowledged the innovative inspiration of Governor Abiola Ajimobi, who leaves office this month after two pacesetting terms.
Salami said: ”I must give credit to the Visitor to this university, His Excellency, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, who conceived the idea. I keep on saying that he’s the dreamer and visioner, I’m just the interpreter of that dream. When we started, not too many people gave us a chance. People thought it was not going to work. We came at a point when the economy wasn’t too good. People wondered and asked how we were going to pay salaries, get students and all.”
The university’s story is a study in focus and self-belief. Salami was appointed in May 2017. Three months later, the National Universities Commission (NUC) approved 15 programmes for the university. The university’s first set of students started their studies within six months after the NUC’s verification. Its first matriculation in January 2018 involved 190 students. Courses available at Tech-U include Mechatronics Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Food Sciences and Technology, Cyber Security, Computer Science, Software Engineering, Physics with Electronics, Petroleum Engineering, Industrial Chemistry and Statistics.
Obviously, the university’s courses have a 21st century character. Tech-U is designed to produce entrepreneurial techies. French is compulsory for every student, which says something about the university’s international outlook. In addition, every student is required to take two skills in any field of artisanship along with any course of their choice, and must be certified in such skills before they graduate. This blend of academic, entrepreneurial and vocational education is expected to prepare the university’s graduates for the challenges of the 21st century.
The university’s programmes show that it is on course concerning its orientation. Tech-U has demonstrated that it understands the meaning of specialisation. This is a lesson in a country where specialised universities are known to have gotten off track. Two years ago, the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, said: “Some of these specialised institutions include universities such as Universities of Agriculture, Universities of Technologies, Universities of Medicine, amongst others. The Federal government has observed that these institutions have derailed from their statutory responsibilities, thereby running programmes that are antithetical to their mandates.”
Adamu added: “The government notes the unfortunate situation where Universities of Agriculture offer programmes in Law, Management courses such as Accounting, Banking and Finance, Business Administration, among others. As if that was not enough, some institutions change the nomenclature of some of the courses to read, for instance, Banking Engineering, Accounting Technology, among other names. This is an aberration and should be stopped with immediate effect.”
Deviation from specialisation has been attributed to funding challenges. On the issue of funding, Tech-U, according to Salami, has pioneered “a new model of tertiary institution entirely. This university is today the only self-sustaining public university in Nigeria.”
Salami explained: ”This is a university that was established from the word go to be self-sustaining; a public university with private-sector orientation. So with that, except the law is changed, I do not see any problem with that. Let me say clearly that this university is not running on government subvention. What government gave us is the take-off grant; apart from the take-off grant, we are supposed to really, you know, generate resources to actually forge ahead while the government takes care of infrastructural development and that’s what we have been doing in the last one year. We have been partnering with so many agencies and we have been running the university smoothly.”
Governor Ajimobi had emphasised Tech-U’s public-private partnership model at an event last year: ”The commitment of government is to provide resources for its takeoff; after this, you pay your bills. While government will honor its commitment in this regard, it is imperative that the university begins to look out for partnerships that would make it attain full financial autonomy as a self-sustaining university.”
There is no doubt that the Tech-U model calls for creative thinking on the part of the institution’s management. It is a model that deserves to be emulated by tertiary institutions in the country that continue to cry about poor funding. Salami’s words: “We are supposed to solve problems and we can’t solve problems without having resources. We don’t depend solely on government subvention. Yes, government has a responsibility to support education but what we are saying is that we are not going the way of other public universities that rely solely on government. We are able to survive because we do not depend solely on government.”
A particular arrangement highlights Tech-U’s internationalism. “We are focusing on the international – in terms of research, staff, content, faculty,” Salami said. “ To that effect, within the first one year, we have gone into collaborative arrangement with Texas Tech University, in America… we are signing ‘4 plus 1 X’ arrangement which allows our students to spend 4 years here if you have come for a 5-year programme. And once you can afford it, you spend the next one year in Texas Tech University and come back here to earn our degree and use that our degree to have automatic admission for master’s degree programme in Texas Tech in the U.S. This means that our curriculum (with what is going on in Texas) is comparable, and that means we can exchange our staff. We want to create an environment whereby our students can be here and get instructional materials from Texas Tech and then our staff will go into joint research partnership with the staff over there so that we look at the Nigerian environment and the challenges; and then we take advantage of the findings we have there to really deal with our local problem in the country.”
Tech-U is for brilliant students, irrespective of their socio-economic context. Its scholarship basket, which attracts contributions from government and the private sector, had over half a billion naira in less than one year. “Those who ordinarily wouldn’t have seen the four walls of the university, even a public university, are now being brought to a university like this through scholarship and they are embracing it with both arms. They are very happy about it from the feedback we have,” Salami remarked.
Governor Ajimobi’s Tech-U idea is the stuff of legacy. It should inspire forward-thinking governance.
Barely two years after its establishment, the First Technical University, Ibadan (Tech-U) has proved skeptics wrong as the institution is at the verge of becoming the first self-sustaining public university in Nigeria. The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ayobami Salami highlights the institution’s effort at fulfilling its dreams of producing market-ready graduates that will provide solutions to societal needs, among others. Uchechukwu Nnaike reports
Nigerian universities have over the years been accused of producing half-baked graduates that are not employable, just as their curricula are said to be opposed to the needs of the industry.
To step away from the norm, the First Technical University (TECH-U) was established by the Oyo State Government in 2017 to equip its students with the relevant skill-sets they require to stand-out among their peers.
According to the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ayobami Salami, to ensure that none of its student will ever become a liability to the society, it is mandatory for all students to acquire an additional foreign language; get certified (through NABTEB and London City and Guild) in at least two relevant vocations of their choice; and meet all conditions for the award of a diploma in entrepreneurship programme after series of interface with top-class industry experts that will get them ready for the world of work.
As part of efforts to actualise this dream, he said the University has an existing partnership with the Texas Tech University, US, which allows an exchange of staff and students.
“A major highlight of that partnership that should interest you is that henceforth, interested students of this University will be eligible to spend a full academic session at Texas Tech during their third or fourth session and may subsequently return there for postgraduate studies.”
The VC stated that the institution is also in partnership with the organised private sector, which culminated into a curriculum review session that had in attendance notable organisations like the Nigeria Employers Consultative Council (NECA), Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), among other reputable industry leaders.
He described the benefit of the programme as invaluable, as it enabled the university to benefit in no small measure from the critical input of these players in shaping its curriculum and preparing the students for the world of work.
“We are glad and excited that we already have on-board a number of these topflight professionals signed-up as our facilitators; with many more joining the growing list soon. Of course, it needs to be underscored once again, that at Tech-U the balance of instruction is shared 60 to 40 per cent between our experienced academics and industry hands, respectively”, Salami said.
He added that the University had finalised a Memorandum of Understanding with the Nigeria Machine Tools Limited, Osogbo within the framework of which its engineering students will have unhindered access to their standard facility for learning.
“We have had a productive engagement with the German International Aid Agency (GIZ) for partnership in their ‘Skills Development for Youth Employment in Nigeria (SKYE)’ for the benefits of all our students.”
Taking cognizance of the fact that not all students desiring the quality of education offered by the university can afford it, the institution had launched a students’ financing scheme now worth over N1 billion.
“Since Tech-U debuted two sessions ago, not less than three hundred beneficiaries have emerged through the scheme. In choosing the beneficiaries, the University relies absolutely on a merit-driven process that involves series of aptitude tests preceded by an open call widely advertised.”
On the rationale for establishing the fund, the VC said: “We are committed to empowering youths from all classes of the society. Our creed is to never subsidise the rich or deprive the poor. We are therefore pleased to raise the bar in students funding. I am happy that the scheme has brought to fruition the dreams of many underprivileged and deprived students.”
He said the endowment fund is generated from the public and private sectors. “Notable public sector contributors for instance are Oyo State local governments. Through their magnanimity and foresight, at five students from each LGA in the state enjoy full scholarship throughout their study on campus.
A total of 100 youths from Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, have emerged the first beneficiaries of the empowerment and contract recruitment programme of the Oyo State Government. The programme is being executed by the First Technical University (Tech U), Ibadan.
Trained in security technology, fashion design, cosmetology, videography and agribusiness, the beneficiaries were drawn from Ona-Ara Local Government area of the state. Mostly Youths, they were at the university for two weeks participating in hands-on training in the vocational and business areas. The project was sponsored by the Commissioner for Finance and Budget, Mr Bimbo Adekanmbi.
Addressing the beneficiaries during the certificate presentation ceremony at the institution, the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Ayobami Salami, described the scheme as the university’s way of providing sustainable alternatives to the crisis of unemployment in Nigeria.
He said: “In many ways, the rising rate of unemployment in our country today, currently puts at 23.1 per cent, should task any genuinely concerned observer to get to work and think of innovative ways out of the very worrisome situation. Our university is adequately equipped to offer evidence-based solutions in this regard.
“As Nigeria’s premier technical university, this programme, in addition to the unique and solid entrepreneurial and innovative education our regular students enjoy, is our corporate social responsibility. It is our own modest way of empowering our young people and getting them to work for development. The overarching aim of the programme is to promote innovative entrepreneurship by equipping beneficiaries with relevant, cutting-edge, creative and business skills required for impact and profitability.
“This programme is our first in the series. In the coming days, we shall also undertake similar trainings for youths across other parts of the state and the country at large. We hold the conviction that by working assiduously to empower our young people, we would not only deal a huge blow on poverty and unemployment in the country, but also bridge the yawning skills gap that consistently makes it impossible for the nation to join the league of truly productive economies globally.”
Salami expressed gratitude to Adekanmbi for partnering with the institution on the scheme.
He described the partnership as “an invaluable partnership borne out of shared values for the sustainable empowerment of our people.”
The Vice Chancellor assured the beneficiaries of a rewarding entrepreneurial journey having patiently endured the rigours of the programme.
“You would realize that, deliberately, we have emphasized that in addition to the skills acquired, you also acquire the know-how required to conduct businesses successfully, deploying proven innovative principles.
With this, we are assured that you would emerge as very prosperous entrepreneurs who solve problems, provide excellent services and create employment opportunities for others as proud alumnus of the Tech-U TVET Programme.” Salami said.
Adekanmbi also congratulated the beneficiaries, stressing that carrying a certificate of Tech U will enhance the credibility of their knowledge and skills before clients and other participants in the business world. He urged them to make the best use of the knowledge and skills acquired.
The commissioner also donated a sum of N500,000 to a fund that will be used as revolving loans for the beneficiaries.