Aware that universities are not only economic engines but hotbeds of innovation and entrepreneurship that can change the face of the state and attract global talents, Lagos State government has concluded plans to establish two more universities in the state.
While striving to transform Lagos State to a smart city, the present government led by Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu is not oblivious of the role that the two news universities would play in the building of new institutions of civil society, developing new cultural values, and in training and socializing people of new social era.
From inception, the policy thrust of the present administration in the education sector indicated that the government is strongly committed to providing youths with opportunities to gain skills, knowledge, and information that will set them on the path to success.
More so that the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, in 2020 revealed that no fewer than 1.99 million candidates jostled for the available 750,000 carrying capacity in our tertiary institutions.
What this portends is that at the end of the admission exercise only 750,000 were admitted leaving 1.240 million candidates to repeat the recurring decimal this year.
It has become crystal clear that the carrying capacity remains one of the major challenges to access to universities in Nigeria. Thus, the universities need to be expanded according to the demand to avoid being over-populated and facilities being overstretched.
Rising to the need for more world class ivory towers in the state, the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo –Olu and his think tanks in the state’s education sector are constantly coming up with uncommon initiatives.
The governor has informed whoever cares to listen that the state government is planning to establish two additional universities of technology and education.
According to the governor, the plans to realize the plans are already in top gear, promising adequate and continuous funding for state-owned tertiary institutions in the state.
Very recently the present government in the state unveiled a collaboration between the Lagos State University (LASU) and an American based University, Cornell University New York, for 16 professional certificate programmes to be jointly run by the two Universities
On this laudable initiative, Governor Sanwo -Olu without mincing words proudly stated that the establishment of LASU/ Cornell University Post Graduate Professional certificate programmes was aimed at giving prospective students across the country, the opportunity to gain global skills and professional expertise that will not only make them relevant and employable, but globally competitive in the 21st century digital global economy.
The governor who noted that the decision to collaborate with the choice of Cornell University, rated to be one of the best leading Universities in the world was borne out of the desire to keep and sustain LASU’s present pedigree and high academic profile as the second best University in Nigeria and one of the best 600 in the world.
‘’The state government’s resolve to collaborate with Cornell University, one of the world class universities, renowned for its excellence in innovation, Entrepreneurship skills development, Research practice and human resource development is borne out of our desire to keep and sustain LASU’s pedigree and high academic profile as the second best University in Nigeria and one of the best 600 Universities in the world,‘’ Sanwo Olu stated.
The governor had made it clear that entrepreneurship skills, human resource development, innovation and creativity, Marketing, Leadership skills. Management, Data Science and Statistics would help prospective university students to gain global skills that would make them relevant, employable and globally competitive.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu-led administration raised the bar in its pursuit for academic excellence when it resolved to upgrade the Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, Ijanikin, and Sir Michael Otedola College of Primary Education to the University of Education and the Lagos State Polytechnic, Ikorodu to the Lagos State University of Science and Technology.
To give the move to promote tertiary education in the state a legal backing, the Lagos House of Assembly has since gone to the drawing board to strategize on how best to achieve the objective, coming up with two bills that proposed the establishment of university of Education and that of Science and Technology in the state.
The Bills had scaled through second reading and now committed into the House Committee on Education (Tertiary) and are expected to report back to the House.
The lawmakers have expressed optimism that the feat when achieved would help provide manpower for the development of the state.
Commenting on the initiative, Oba Semiudeen Orimadegun Kasali who is the Adeburuwa of Igbogbo Kingdom in Ikorodu division said the state government’s move to convert Lagos State polytechnic to Lagos State University of Science and Technology has opened a vista of hope for the communities.
He said, ‘’By the new vista of hope and the broadening of limitless possibilities now to be available to the youths of our locality to train the minds on lofty ideals through direct and incidental knowledge acquisition. For this great prospect we are happy and grateful to the Lagos State government for this great vision.
‘’The establishment of a new university is a step in the right direction. It is a goal directed to move the entire state forward and ensure that the citizens of the state can compete favourably with their peers in the world.’’
A member representing Alimosho 1, local government, Bisi Yusuff, said that the establishment of the university was important, adding that there should be pre degree programmes, which will absorb candidates seeking admission.
He stressed that there was a provision in the Bill that will make the university to be self independent, saying “The inclusion of vocational training will also make the students self employed.”
Harping on the imperative of the new universities another lawmaker, Sani Okanlawon opined that Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education and Michael Otedola College of Education should be upgraded into a university.
“The society has rejected NCE and what is the benefit of going to a school where your certificate will not be recognized.
“Admission into this school is the lowest as only 18 applicants chose (ACCOED) as first choice in the last Universal Tertiary Matriculations Examinations (UTME)., With the creation of this varsity, it will reduce the number of applicants to going to LASU”, he said.
Also, Gbolahan Yishawu representing Eti-Osa 2, who agreed with his colleagues on the need to upgrade the two colleges of education in the state to a university said that NCE is no longer popular, saying that the establishment of the university is timely.
According to him, ‘’I would like to mention that this bill should not be looked into in isolation, but should apply the law that established LASU into it. There is need to have a template to form the institution in order to avoid overlap.’’
The special adviser to Governor Sanwo-Olu on Education, Tokunbo Wahab, who is the arrow head driving the initiatives attributed success it has achieved so far in the implementation of its Education and Technology Pillar of Governor Sanwo-Olu administration’s T.H.E.M.E.S development agenda to understanding, cordial working relationship and genuine commitment to good governance demonstrated by the RT. Hon. Mudsshiru Ajayi Obasa led the House of Assembly in the state.
Wahab noted that their establishment may be faster and earlier than expected, giving the urgent attention and serious legislative backing given to the matter at the floor of the House by the Law makers.
The special adviser who applauded the House for supporting good governance in the state through quality legislations, affirmed that the House had debated two bills proposing the establishment of two tertiary institutions – a University of Education and a University of Science and Technology – in the state, expressing happiness that the bills had scaled second reading on the floor of the state’s House of Assembly.
” I must express our appreciation to the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, our own Rt. Hon. Mudsshiru Ajayi Obasa and members of the State House of Assembly for the success we have achieved in education and other critical sectors, their support at all times and quality legislations have made possible good governance we are enjoying in the state today.
‘’ We are particularly happy that the lawmakers have thrown their support behind the establishment of the Universities of; Education and Science and Technology in demonstration of the State government’s commitment to the growth of Education and Technology in the state, I am confident, history of good governance will be so kind to the Speaker and members of this great Assembly, whenever we are reflecting on activities that led to new Lagos of our collective dream,” Wahab stated
According to him, the Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, Ijanikin and Sir Michael Otedola College of Primary Education, Epe upon approval, would be upgraded to Lagos State University of Education, while the Lagos State Polytechnic, Ikorodu be upgraded to Lagos State University of Science and Technology with a particular interest in vocational and entrepreneurship skills development for job security .
He noted that it is evident that LASU alone could no longer cope with the admission needs of the larger student population of the state, hence, the need for the establishment of more universities.
The special adviser noted that the two universities, when commenced, will help to add value to science, technology, vocational and entrepreneurship skills development needed for rapid socio -economic growth of the state and the nation at large.