By Bianca Iboma-Emefu
The Vice Chancellor of Mountain Top University (MTU), Prayer City, Ogun State, Prof Elijah Ayolabi, has called on the Federal Government to address the infrastructural deficit in public universities in order to bridge the gap of infrastructural development in the Ivory towers.
Prof Ayolabi disclosed this at a briefing heralding the convocation ceremony of two sets, the 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 academic session in which 342 students made up of 169 for the 2019/2020 session and 173 from the 2020/2021 session will graduate.
He said in the 2019/2020 academic session, 17 students recorded First Class while 28 obtained First Class for the 2020/2021 session.
The VC explained that during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, the institution maintained a steady academic calendar in the face of the ravaging pandemic.
‘We do not take the praise for that remarkable achievements but we give the glory to Almighty God. While private universities had e-presence and lectures were on going, the public universities academic calendar was disrupted because they do not have the facilities.’
Prof Ayolabi emphasised the need for government to fix the infrastructural challenge in public universities, noting that the COVID-19 crippled every aspect of global engagement including the education sector.
‘Last year in Nigeria, the government and various authorities shut down many education institutions and students were asked to go home. Since the initial lockdown across the country, many universities engaged partially in academic activities. As a result of this, the students of these universities lost time in their academic pursuits,’ he said.
‘However, there are a few universities that have been active in academics. I am proud to announce that Mountain Top University is one such university. Enabled by a world-class ICT facility and dedicated staff, the university continued its academic activities via various online infrastructures is key for tertiary institutions to thrive.
‘The challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, though unplanned, did not meet the university unprepared. The university was swift to spring into action with online lectures, virtual practical classes and course assessments.’
Prof Ayolabi appealed to the government to review the TEFUND law to allow private institutions to benefit from the fund.
‘Private universities are not asking for welfare funds but funds to support research work that has academic value. We will continue to struggle for this course.’
He reeled out some achievements recorded by the institution within six years of its existence.
‘The university from its inception has been geared towards the use of excellent technological facilities for learning, research and was a major player in the easy transition.’
The VC disclosed that through the Centre for Entrepreneurship and Development Studies (CEDGS) students are imbued with the requisite skills and vocations needed to survive in the world.
‘Some of the vocations include, leatherworks, hand and machine knitting, soap-making and household perfumery.’
Prof Ayolabi pointed out that graduates of the institution do not just flaunt their certificate but creativity. He said MTU does not award undeserving students certificates but on merit.