13 December 2012

Nigeria: Dickson Advocates Autonomy for Varsities

Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson, has asked the Federal Government to evolve policies and programmes that would make tertiary institutions in the country to be less dependent on the government for their operation.

Dickson said the autonomy as being advocated for would not only be in the areas of administrative matters but also in carrying out research activities which is one of the primary responsibilities of tertiary institutions worldwide.

Dickson, who said this after he inaugurated the Governing Council of the state-owned Niger Delta University (NDU), stressed that he would like a situation where the university would run and sustain itself without much of government support in the foreseeable future.

According to him, the vision of his administration is to develop the institution to such a level that it could provide consultancy services to government and its agencies to generate income as well as assist in tackling environmental issues like the twin problems of flood and erosion.

Referring to the report of the visitation panel, the governor decried the practice where the university employs staff indiscriminately, describing it as unacceptable.

Responding, Chairman and Pro-Chancellor, Niger Delta University Professor Turner Isoun stressed the need to reposition the university in conformity with modern realities to enhance research as well as job and wealth creation.

He said the institution would not be spared in the staff rationalisation reforms of government, directing the Secretary to the State Government and the Commissioner for Education to make available the report of the visitation panel to the Governing Council, adding that in the expansion of membership of the Council, government will sign into law a bill to accommodate the additional members.

Isoun, who underscored the need for government's intervention in capacity building of the child from the Nursery to the tertiary level, observed that the move would go a long way in strengthening the education sector for posterity.

While thanking Dickson for the confidence reposed in them, the Chairman and Pro-Chancellor of NDU corroborated the governor's position that an economy that was knowledge-based would guarantee a more sustainable economic development.

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