The Ogun State government has tasked all governing councils of state-owned tertiary institutions to stay away from actions and decisions that could undermine the solvency of universities, polytechnics and colleges of education across the state.
Stating this on Thursday was state Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Prof Abayomi Arigbabu, at the opening of a two-day workshop in Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye.
Arigbagbu said members of governing councils are supposed to save costs and equally attract funds to their respective institutions.
The workshop, with the theme: “Governing Councils of Higher Educational Institutions: Concept, Roles, Relevance and Expectations,” was organised by the Oba (Dr) Sikiru Kayode Adetona Institute for Governance Studies in OOU.
In his keynote address entitled, “Governing Councils: Government Concepts, Perceptions and Expectations,” Prof. Arigbabu declared that Governing Councils are primarily constituted to effectively help in repositioning tertiary institutions to achieve their core mandates.
The commissioner, who observed that conflicts often erupt between governing bodies and managements of tertiary institutions, said there should not be an unhealthy rivalry if everyone knows his responsibilities, obligations and limitations.
According to him, there would be rapid growth and development in tertiary institutions when synergy exists between governing councils and management.
“Governing councils are supposed to be blessings for institutions, not curses. They should be troubleshooters, not troublemakers,” the commissioner said.
“Governing bodies are entrusted with funds, both public and private, and therefore have a particular duty to observe the highest standards of corporate governance. This includes ensuring and demonstrating integrity and objectivity in the transaction of their business, and wherever possible following a policy of openness and transparency in the dissemination of their decisions,” he added.
While stressing that Governor Dapo Abiodun-led administration places a high premium on the attainment of qualitative education, Prof. Arigbabu urged well-meaning individuals to complement the efforts of the government in funding tertiary institutions in the state.
He explained that the essence of appointing people from various backgrounds into governing councils was to tap their resources and connections for the development of educational institutions.
In his goodwill message, the Awujale and Paramount Ruler of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona, described governing councils and principal officers of various institutions of higher learning as key actors in the governance of tertiary education, adding that their effectiveness is capable of improving the fortunes of tertiary education.
Addressing the challenges facing the educational sector, the revered monarch noted, will enable it to play its expected role in the development of the country.
He said, “An effective educational system is a veritable tool for growth and shared prosperity. But education can only serve as an agent of development if it is effective and serve humanity. However, in Nigeria, it is rather unfortunate that higher education is in crisis due to a series of factors and reasons. Hence, addressing the challenges facing the educational sector will enable it to play its expected role in the development of our country.
“Ogun state is one of the states in Nigeria with the highest number of tertiary institutions which have their own share of the challenges facing tertiary education in the country. Thus, this workshop is very timely.”
Oba Adetona, who is the founder of the Institute for governance studies, charged the participants to help the government in addressing the problems of tertiary education in the state and manage their respective institutions to meet the expectations of the public.
Earlier in his welcome address, the OOU Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ayodeji Agboola, had said the workshop was organised to imbue participants with their roles as the apex body in the management of tertiary education in the state.
According to him, management of tertiary education in a globalised and ever-changing world is not static but very dynamic.
Prof. Agboola said, “No matter one’s stock of knowledge, managers of tertiary institutions have to constantly attune themselves to current realities through constant training and retraining. Oba (Dr) Sikiru Kayode Institute for governance studies, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye with international partnership and collaboration, has been established for such purpose.
“The vision of the institute is to be a world-class and highly reputable institution for the advancement and understanding of theory, practice and policy of governance and a reference point and vanguard in the efforts at redefining and reinventing the processes of governance in Africa and Nigeria in particular. In line with this, its mission is to conduct research as well as organise, teach and train both public and private sector leadership and other personnel.”
The workshop, which ends on Friday, had former Vice-Chancellors, including Prof. Olufemi Bamiro, Prof. Ganiyu Olatunde and Prof. Sola Akinrinade, among others, as resource persons.
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