Jet Stanley Madu
Professor Toyin Falola has revealed that there is something Faith-based Universities (FBUs) are offering the country which conventional universities are struggling to do.
This, according to him, is that some researches carried out by their faculties are finding solutions to issues of governance, democracy and conflict resolution.
Falola expressed this view when he delivered the third convocation lecture of the McPherson University, Abeokuta, Ogun state.
Speaking against the backdrop of calls for an increased access to funding higher education including private tertiary institutions and faith-based universities, he insisted that though faith-based institutions were typically funded by wealthy private donors, there was need for government
to help in funding them.
Giving reasons why government should extend funding and grants to privately tertiary institutions, with particular emphasis on FBUs, he explained that institutions which are loosely based on religious doctrines play important roles in education and contribute to the nation’s economic development.
He pointed out that they contribute to social change, stating that they impact on their immediate
community by ways of job creation, improvement to agriculture, education and health services.
“They have contributed to finding solutions to Nigeria’s problems. Research carried out by their faculties relate to finding solutions to issues of governance, democracy and conflict resolution.” He held that FBUs lay emphasis on training of youths in ways that link education and character.
He observed, however, that the FBUs were not without their criticisms.
“In recent times, faith-based schools all over the world have been subject to increasing amounts of criticisms and following the same set of standards as public schools and universities.”
Another problem which he said is associated with institutions established by religious bodies is the lack of diversity and creation of social and ethnic segregation between religious schools.
This challenge he pointed out, prevents students from meeting people of different backgrounds and beliefs, and keeps them in one-like mind- ed community.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Adeniyi Agunbiade disclosed that all McPherson’s programmes con- tinue to enjoy accreditation by the National Universities Com- mission (NUC).
He declared that the institution bequeaths to her students entrepreneurial skills.
Before graduation, the university also prepare them for professional certification by relevant professional bodies.
He said of the 70 graduands, 12 made First Class Honours, 35 finished with Second Class Upper Division, 15 graduated with Second Class Lower Division while others made Third Class category.
With a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA), Bello Kehinde Oluwatoyin who studied Accounting Programming emerged as the best graduating student.
In grooming the students, every aspect of human development is never ignored. This explains why the best graduating student may not be the valedictorian. Rather, than Bello, Mr. Titobi Gbenga gave the valedictory speech.
This corroborated the VC’s assertion that the university makes pragmatic effort in churning out well-baked graduates.
His words: “our experience in this unique university is one that should not be forgotten as it will give us an edge in this fast-changing and technologically driven world. It should be used to make the world better than we met it.’’
Visitor to the university, Rev. Felix Meduoye enthused that in no distant time, the university will be placed on the global map of world-class universities, stressing that “the continuous commitment of us all to this goal is necessary.”
He reechoed the guest lecturer’s call for funding intervention from government quarters and all well-meaning Nigerians.