The Vice-Chancellor, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Prof Bartho Okolo, has urged the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to look beyond the issue of funding by government in its effort to make Nigerian University system more viable.

Prof. Okolo made the call at the conference room of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, when he received members of the National Executive Council of ASUU, who were in the University for a three-day National Executive Meeting.

The Vice-Chancellor said that inadequate funding is just one of the problems undermining the performance of Nigerian Universities as there were other problems that needed to be addressed. He outlined some of the problems to include; indiscipline among universities staff, scholars lukewarm attitude to teaching and research, low quality of staff and students, poor learning environment and the absence of mentorship of young graduates by more experienced scholars.

Explaining further, Prof. Okolo stated that the burden of sustainable resource mobilization for Universities lay with scholars who were expected to attract grants and equipment to their institutions through research projects.

He bemoaned the laxity of Universities scholars who often complained of lack of research funds without exploring the numerous global grant opportunities open to them.

Prof. Okolo urged ASUU to come up with plans that would ensure that people do the work for which they were employed to do in the universities. He also called on the union to come up with a new education model that would enhance and accelerate national development.

The Vice-Chancellor said that UNN in the past three years had started addressing some of those problems by cleaning up its environment, ensuring that students get their certificate on graduation day and developing one of the most robust ICT infrastructures in the country through its partnership with Google, and other ICT companies.

He also announced that the University had procured large quantities of Electronic Interactive Smart Boards, which would be connected to the internet to make learning easy for students.
According to him the new generation of students learn more with digital equipment rather rely on traditional methods of teaching such as dictating notes in class.

He also announced that arrangements have reached advanced stage to commission the University Alumni portal which would enable interested alumniof the University to access their transcripts within 48 hours of application.

Earlier, the ASUU President, Dr. Nasir Fagge, had commended the Vice-Chancellor for sourcing funds from outside to finance development projects in the University. He noted that he had seen many new projects in the University since his last visit.

The ASUU president also thanked Prof. Okolo for restoring ASUU branch in UNN and ensuring a proper deduction of check-off dues of its members in UNN.

Also speaking, the immediate past president of ASUU, Prof. Ukachukwu Awuzie, urged the Vice-Chancellor to use his position to convince the Committee of Vice-Chancellors, CVC to partner with ASUU in its effort to attract better funding for universities. “Committee of Vice-Chancellors has a unique role to play in educating the government on the importance of education. We need their co-operation to get government fund education properly without relying solely on Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFUND,” he said. Prof. Awuzie further said that first generation Universities should leadthe struggle for financial emancipation of Universities.

In a vote of thanks, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, (Academic) Prof. Isaac Asuzu, thanked ASUU for hosting their NEC meeting at the UNN. He said the meetingwould give them the opportunity to know the activities of ASUU in UNN and further hoped that the meeting would come up with suggestions on how to improve the University system in Nigeria. He wished them a successful deliberation.

Gabriel Ndu
Communication Secretary to the Vice-Chancellor

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