■ How Adeleke University uses work-study programme, agro-business for sustainability, employment creation
From Clement Adeyi, Osogbo
In days gone by, some privileged Nigerian undergraduates who got scholarships to study in any university of their choice, either in Nigeria or abroad, had work-study opportunities in schools whereby they worked and studied to be able to provide some basic needs for themselves.
But nowadays, the reverse is the case. Nigeria’s economic conditions have not only nosedived but have also metamorphosed into economic recession, leaving poverty and hardship in its wake. There have been cases of students withdrawing from school because their parents could not cope with financial challenges associated with their education.
But Adeleke University, Ede, Osun State, one of the faith-based universities, has come up with some lifeline programmes for its students’ self-sustenance. No doubt, this will go a long way in complimenting their parents and guardians’ financial efforts.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ekundayo Alao, who disclosed this in a chat with The Sun Education, said that several of the indigent students had been integrated into the university’s workforce to work and earn some money with which to provide some of their basic needs.
According to the Professor of Mass Communication, there is a work-study timetable that determines the time for academic works and for doing some of the jobs that include cleaning services, beautification, gardening, catering and bakery, etc. He said that every student employee knew the number of hours to put in per week and what to earn as salary as well as the number of hours to put in for studies.
Prof. Alao who said that the aim of the work-study programme is to prepare students for job creation after graduation also revealed that most of Adeleke University graduates are already employers of labour, especially in small-scale industries in Nigeria.
As part of efforts to boost the university’s economy for sustainability, the Vice Chancellor said the university, through its Department of Agricultural Engineering has introduced some agriculture programmes to ensure food security not only on the campus for the benefits of staff and students but also for the entire country.
To this end, he said, the department is into large scale farming whereby different farm produce such as vegetables, garri, cassava, plantains, okra, tomatoes, pepper, corn, groundnut, among others, are grown. “Our students eat what we produce in our farms,” he said. “Our vegetables, corn, garri, tomatoes etc are from our farms.”
He revealed that the department was leveraging on the intellectual capacity of the students to evolve and design appropriate machines and systems to revolutionize the production of fruit and juice drinks. According to him, machines are fabricated in the department to process garri as an export product because of the new technology being put into the processing. The university, he also disclosed, is into poultry and fish production.
The VC said the agriculture programmes go a long way in generating employment for the graduates of the university. He enthused that some of them graduate and establish their own poultry farms.
According to him, plans are underway to use agro-industrial-based technology to produce cassava bread, potato bread and other nutritious foods. He added that mangoes, oranges, bananas, cashew that are wasting away in farms in rural areas due to inability to transport the local resources to markets in towns as a result of poor access roads.
Alao noted that the agric engineering team of the university is already working on the technology that would empower grassroots farmers to engage in large-scale farming. Explaining the rationale behind the university’s work-study and agric programmes, he stressed that education is supposed to be total, “where the hands, minds and brains are put to work to achieve the values of education optimally. Children should not be given academic education alone. They should be taught to work with their hands as much as to think with their brains. Education of the head without education of the mind is not complete. Education must be complete with the hands, the head and the mind. This is where we are going at Adeleke University.”