President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday warned that any university management involved in unethical practices would face the full wrath of the law.
Buhari, who was the Visitor at the sixth convocation of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) in Abuja, said universities would henceforth prepare quarterly financial reports.
Represented by Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Buhari said his administration was anchored on ensuring security of lives and property, fighting corruption and improving the economy.
“As we move to address the existing needs of our universities, we demand that the leadership of these institutions reciprocate government’s gesture by untilising their funds with utmost integrity and probity.
“Any university council or management found wanting in relation to financial mismanagement or gross moral and ethical violations will be made to face the full wrath of law.
“I have directed the Minister of Education to demand quarterly reports from all universities, detailing their major financial and administrative activities.
“A template for such report will soon be circulated to the universities by the Federal Ministry of Education through the NUC,’’ he said.
Buhari asked NOUN to continue to lead and chart new directions in distance learning education through maximum use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
According to him, NOUN should through effective use of ICT, research, instructional materials and other training aids, produce globally competitive graduates.
He congratulated NOUN’s governing council, management, staff and students on the institution’s sixth convocation.
In his address, Prof. Abdalla Adamu, NOUN’s Vice-Chancellor, said that 12,125 graduating students, across all disciplines, would be conferred with honours. He said that out of the number, 31 bagged first class degrees.
According to him, NOUN is keying into the global trend in digital learning. “To improve our web rankings and raise the profile of our academic staff, NOUN has created a ‘NOUN
Academics Online’ module where each of our academic staff is showcased to attract national and international collaborations in teaching and research.
“Noting the trend in technology usage among our students and predilection towards smart phone and tablet devices, NOUN has started negotiations with key technology partners to migrate our study materials into ePub electronic format.
“That will make our materials easier, friendlier and more interactively accessible on smartphone and tablet,’’ he said.
He regretted that the Council for Legal Education (CLE) had consistently denied NOUN’s law graduates admission into law school due to wrong perception.
Adamu, however, said that the Senate Committee on Tertiary Education and TETFund recently held a public hearing on NOUN Amendment Bill, which when passed into law, would address all outstanding issues.
The vice-chancellor said that NOUN had outpaced other Open and Distance Learning (ODL) institutions in Africa in the Open Education Resources initiative.
In his remarks, NOUN’s Chancellor, Lawrence Agubuzu, said that the yearly convocation was a testimony that NOUN was pursuing its mandate vigorously.
He urged the new graduates to exhibit worthy qualities wherever they find themselves in the service of their fatherland.