The Vice Chancellor of Lagos State University (LASU), Professor John Obafunwa, faced a daunting task when he assumed office in September 2011. The institution was fleeting like a sinking ship, with the de-accreditation of 17 progammes by the National Universities Commission (NUC).
To worsen the situation, the high fee regime implemented by the university on the recommendation of the Visitation Panel triggered protests that sounded like a death knell that would close her gates forever.
Addressing journalists recently on the progress recorded by the institution, Obafunwa said the university has regained its lost pride, with a recent clean bill issued by the regulatory body.
According to him, the NUC accreditation exercise in March, gave a pass mark to 16 out of the 17 programmes that were initially de-accredited.
The approved courses include: Faculty of Arts (B.A Portuguese/English),
Faculty of Education (B.SC [ED] Accounting, B.SC [ED] Business,B.Sc [ED] Computer Science, B.Sc [ED] Educational Technology, B.Sc [ED] Educational Mangement, B.Sc [ED] Health Education. Others were Faculty of Engineering (B.Sc Chemical and Polymer Engineering], Faculty of Law (LLB Law],Faculty of Management [B.Sc Banking and Finance, B.Sc Business Administration, B.Sc Marketing, B.Sc Management Technology and Faculty of Social Sciences [B.Sc Economics, B.Sc Political Science, B.Sc Sociology].
Following this accreditation and the approval of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), the university can now admit students for all the programmes in the 2013/2014 academic session and beyond.
Apart from these, Prof Obafunwa said another 18 programmes, some of which were on interim status, were also recently presented for re-accreditation by the university. Although the official results of the exercise have not been released, stakesare high that the university wouldn’t be let down.
In expanding its academic horizon, the university will soon commence new academic programmes at degree levels in the following programmes: Aeronautical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Agricultural Science and Film and Cultural Science.
Obafunwa said the Senate and the Governing Council of the university have approved the curricular of these programmes, in addition to the creation of School of Agriculture, School of Film, performing Arts and Cultural Studies. According to him, Aeronautical Engineering, the first of its kind in the country, would be run at the existing Faculty of Engineering at the Epe Campus.
“I am proud to inform you that our team has continued to work assiduously to set up high standards in qualitative education, through effective teaching, research, administrative competence and technology in order to add value to the image and dignity of our prestigious university,” he said.
Although the quality of teaching and learning has improved remarkably in the institution, the Vice Chancellor denied speculations that the institution wanted to introduce another fee regime.
He also debunked claims that the last fee hike in 2011 affected the number of enrolment to programmes.
Instead, he said as the institution currently ranks as the best state university in the country and the 11th among over 50 Nigerian universities.
Hear him: “…It might interest you to know that in spite of the fee hike about two years ago, LASU still remains one of the preferred in the comity of Nigerian universities. Parents and students alike have already embraced the new fees regime, since it was introduced by the Lagos State government on the recommendation of the Visitation Panel,” he said.
Obafunwa attributed the rapid transformation of the university to the commitment of the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola, management staff, Deans of the various faculties, Heads of Departments, Faculty members,the Chairman of Academic Planning Committee and former Executive Secretary, NUC, Prof Peter Okebukola andthe non-teaching staff.
To the delight of students, Obafunwa said the LASU Radio would soon hit the airwaves.
According to him, work has commenced on the site for the construction of an ultra modern studio complex and the firm handling the project has promised to deliver in six months time.
“You will recall that the National Broadcasting Commission has given LASU licence to operate its own radio station. When operation commences, the LASU Radio will serve as a platform for training our students of Mass Communication, Performing Arts and Cultural Studies, and it will also keep the university community constantly informed of happenings and serve as an entertainment and information highway to the general public,” he said.
Obafunwa’s administration also broke another yoke that crushed the institution when graduating students of the university collected their certificates at the last convocation ceremony of the school. Unlike past years, where students’ results were delayed for more than five years, LASU students were among the first batch of students to report to the camp for the mandatory one year National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) programme.
Fashola’s passion for the university could be seen in his regular visits, where he personally supervised the multi-billion naira building projects springing up at several locations. Aside giving the institution a befitting look, the introduction of new programmes and collaborationwith foreign universities would, no doubt, speedy its vision of becoming the preferred University of Excellence with cutting edge research a mission accomplished.
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