The income of communities hosting higher institutions, especially universities, enjoys a boost as the institutions provide work and skills that offer economic benefits to the people.
Federal University Dutse (FUD), Jigawa State, celebrated its 4th convocation during which it graduated 528 students who were awarded various classes of degrees.
The institution has launched eight different community-based manufactured food products into the market under its ‘town and gown’ programme. Thus, the university is providing economic advantage by developing the knowledge and skills of students and also the communities in food processing.
Beef Jerky (kilishi), Peanut Brittle, Crunchy nuts and a variety of date products otherwise referred to as ‘mandako’ in Hausa language, are among the products developed and launched into the market with the assistance of the university.
The move is to compliment government’s effort in combating the scourge of poverty among the rural dwellers by encouraging self-reliance.
In academics, the university has introduced 36 new courses this year, graduated 14 students with first class degrees, 222 with second class upper division and same number with second class lower division while 70 passed out with third class.
In same vein, a total of 281 graduates obtained postgraduate diplomas in Development Studies while others acquired master’s in same programme.
It was revealed during the convocation ceremony that one of the first class graduates of the university’s Department of Environmental Management and Toxicology also emerged the overall best student out of 600 conferees’ submissions at the United Nations International Students Conference on Environment and Sustainability in China. Mohammed Baba won the competition out of the contestants from 95 countries.
Issuing certificates without corresponding intellectual capacity has never been part of FUD’s objective rather, the university strives to produce graduates ready for the job market, the authorities have said. Also, despite the strict resource verification exercise conducted by the National Universities Commission (NUC), FUD has secured approval for the commencement of new academic programmes at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
In her speech at the convocation ceremony, the Vice Chancellor Professor Fatimah Batul Mukhtar, said since its establishment eight years ago, the university has recorded some remarkable achievements in both academic and physical development.
At inception in 2011, the university started with only three faculties and five academic departments but these have increased to 32 departments, six faculties, a College of Medicine and Health Sciences and School of Postgraduates Studies.
Professor Mukhtar also said under its academic staff training and development initiative, the university has secured the sum of N197.4 million intervention from TETFUND to sponsor 18 academic staff to obtain doctorate degrees and two others for master’s degrees within the country while four lecturers would study abroad.
For physical development, the V-C explained that the university also got support from the Federal Ministry of Works in the field of road construction, where an 800 meter road with culvert and drainage, from the ‘main gate to the junction of the Faculty of Agriculture, was constructed.
She said the university received the support of some philanthropists and agencies that include a Kano-based businessman in the building of a 100-bed female hostel; the setting up of the second phase of the university’s inter-campus fibre optic connectivity project that connects the university with its teaching hospital through the Universal Service Provision Fund, a subsidiary of NCC, and a host of others.
“Our teaching and learning method adopt the most current system based on student centred and problem based method and techniques. To complement these, FUD is using blended learning and is currently developing its Open Distance Learning (ODL) programme and the use of Open Education Resource to cater for all students and particularly distant learners in the future.
“With the current increase in the number of postgraduate courses in various fields and the concurrent growth in research in some fields, the university recently initiated and adopted the use of plagiarism checker. This is to ensure that all research and other academic publications emanating from the university are not plagiarized,” Prof Fatimah stated.
The VC said the university was able to access grant from the Ecological Fund Office to the tune of N1.4 billion. The amount was used in the construction of 4.5km road and 2.8km primary drainage within and around the university.
“The university is also one of the beneficiaries of the Federal Ministry of Works’ rehabilitation programme of internal roads of 18 institutions across the six zones of the country. A 2km road has been approved for the university,” Professor Mukhtar stated.
In his remarks, the Visitor, President Muhammadu Buhari, commended the management for sustaining the tempo of credible achievements in the university.
Represented by the Executive Secretary, NUC, Professor Abubakar Rasheed, the president said the university has made laudable strides towards achieving the vision of government in terms of quality academic standard and good character cultivation among students, adding that government must call on the organised private sector and other patriotic citizens that have the financial capability to invest in research and development.
“Universities are also urged to connect more creatively with the private sector, especially by exploring the strategy of public private partnership as a veritable option in the desire to provide more facilities in our universities. At this juncture, let me reiterate government’s commitment to upgrading the infrastructural facilities of our universities as well as the culture of innovative thinking in solving local and national development initiatives,” the visitor stated.
Among dignitaries that graced the occasion were the emirs of Kano and Dutse, Muhammadu Sanusi II and Nuhu Sanusi, respectively as well as the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris.