Lagos, Jan. 19, 2013 (NAN) President Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday in Lagos reiterated his administration's commitment to moving Nigeria forward through qualitative education at all levels.
Jonathan gave the assurance at the second convocation ceremony of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN).
The president was represented by the Minister of Education, Prof. Ruquayyatu Rufa'i,
He noted that education played a critical role in any country's economy, saying that the Federal Government would give priority attention to the education sector, if I must realise its transformation agenda.
"We shall put in more efforts in supporting the tertiary institutions for them to be able to attain their mandate.
"As you are aware, government has approved the establishment of three more universities which will further serve as a means of creating an environment conducive for realising national transformation.
"Efforts are also being made to improve the quality of teachers in our schools in order to give birth to quality products who would drive our economy," he said.
The president said that the Federal Government would step up efforts in encourage the Open and Distance Learning (ODL) mode, to facilitate Nigeria's realisation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in education.
He congratulated NOUN's graduands and charged them to be good ambassadors of the institution, adding that Nigeria would rely on them to proffer solutions to its many challenges.
"Our doors are always open for suggestions on how to move the country to the next level," he said.
Speaking in her capacity as the Minister of Education, Rufa'i said that henceforth, universities must ensure that graduands' certificates were ready before convocation.
"We will no longer graduate students without issuance of certificates on the day of graduation.
"It is worrisome to see our young men and women roaming the streets in search of jobs without their certificates," the minister said.
She congratulated NOUN management for issuing certificates to the graduating students at the convocation arena.
Earlier, the NOUN Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Vincent Tenebe, appealed to the Federal Government to increase the institution's budgetary allocations, to enable it to tackle its challenges effectively.
Tenebe said that it was in recognition of NOUNs' contributions to the development of tertiary education, particularly in ODL, that Nigeria's bid was accepted to host the Pan-Commonwealth Forum (PCF7) in conjunction with the Commonwealth of Learning (COL).
Tenebe said that the forum would hold in December 2013.
Tenebe urged the graduating students to contribute their best to national development.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a total of 7,220 students were conferred with degrees in various fields at the ceremony.
A total of 3,601 graduands received postgraduate awards.
NAN also reports that no first class was recorded.
NOUN did not specify the number that graduated in the various classes.
one of the highpoints of the event was the award of a posthumous 'Honorary Causa' to the late Minister of Education, Prof. Babs Fafunwa.