UNILAG has advanced steadily in spite of the challenging economy – VC

Professor Folasade Ogunsola

Prof. Folasade Ogunsola, the vice chancellor of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), has stated that her administration has achieved steady progress since taking office on November 14, 2018, despite the challenging economic environment and several disruptions. The VC also mentioned some of the issues facing the university, including staff housing, funding, and security.

Last Thursday, Ogunsola gave a speech at a media parley held in the university’s Senate Chamber.

She said: “We were determined to push forward to ensure that the university could grow and deliver on its mandate of teaching, research and service through the Future-ready agenda that is encapsulated by the four pillars of growth: Growing the Finance, Growing the infrastructure, Growing the Reputation and Growing the Manpower (FIRM).

“This last year was one of consolidation, seed sowing and growth which we have achieved by building on our strengths, strengthening and developing new partnerships and facilitating the creativity and initiatives of staff and students. We have been putting in place the building blocks to make UNILAG Future-Ready.”

She announced that the National Universities Commission (NUC) had chosen the university to be among the beneficiaries of a N30 million professorial chair endowment fund.

The VC said that the donation will boost research efforts and raise the calibre of the university’s “industry-ready” graduates in the social sciences and telecommunications, fields that have a significant influence on the commission’s and the telecoms industry’s operations.

On improving the institution’s revenue, she said: “It is clear that we need to have new ways of generating revenue to meet our financial obligations. The raising of the obligatory fees was a difficult but necessary decision that had been taken even before the subsidy removal. This was to reduce the growing deficit. The fees still mean that the university can continue to subsidise the education.

“As at today, over 32,778, undergraduate students have registered in both Akoka and Idi-Araba and I am glad to state that as we promised, no student has dropped out because of the increase in obligatory fees.To date, 765 indigent students have benefitted from various student support schemes including scholarships to cover obligatory fees, Adopt-an-Akokite, free meal ticket per day and work study.”

According to Ogunsola, efforts to advance industrial development have strengthened the company’s partnership with the Nigerian Navy Hydrographic Office (NNHO). She said that as a result, the Master of Science (M.Sc.) in Hydrographic Surveying was authorised by the Senate.

She also noted that the institution also partnered with the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) in Disaster Management to train the UNILAG Fire Service personnel, adding that with input from industry through this collaboration, the curriculum of the Masters in Disaster Management (MDM) had been redesigned.

According to Ogunsola, the first private organisation to get in touch with her administration was the Havillah Group publishing company, which gave the university books worth N20 million. She also mentioned that Total Energies contributed lab and fieldwork equipment to help students studying geosciences comprehend and interpret mud logs and ditch cuttings that were taken from wells during drilling operations.

According to the VC, the university started renovating Mariere Hall and upgrading its infrastructure, and the remodelled building will be ready for use by January 2024.

“More limited renovations were carried out in 7 hostels, (Moremi, Fagunwa, Jaja, Makama Bida and Eni Njoku, Amina and Biobaku Hostels.). The rooms, windows, nettings, doors, ceilings, floor tiles, toilets are being repaired. The rebuilding of block G of Moremi Hall is on-going and work has also started on the rehabilitation of the Honors Hostel. Both renovated halls should be ready in 2024,” she said.

She noted that funding remains a challenge to optimising quality education delivery, but management would not relent in boosting its finances.

Regarding security on campus, she said: “We are beginning to experience unprecedented threats to the security of university property. This year, we experienced incessant attacks on university property but I will say that the combined efforts of our security agents and the Nigerian Police have helped to stem the tide. We will continue to ensure that we keep our campuses safe.”