16th Convocation Of Lagos State University
Feb 12, 2009 - Today’s convocation marks the sixteenth (16th) in the academic history of the Lagos State University (LASU), and the second I will be attending in my capacity as the Governor of Lagos State and Visitor to this vibrant citadel of learning. Over the years, the Lagos State University has remained one of the leading Ivory Towers in the Country, turning out graduates who have enriched the quality of Human Capital Resources in every sphere of human endeavour and have contributed to socio-economic and political development of our nation.
In my address at the 15th Convocation of this Institution, I emphasized the need for our education system to rank among the very best in the world and of our commitment towards ensuring a qualitative and functional education at all levels of our educational system, as a cure to our socio-economic and political challenges.
Without mincing words, Education is pivotal to human and social development in any society. It not only focuses on maximizing an individual’s potential in terms of his or her growth and development, but also serves as a vehicle for societal socio-economic and political transformation. In modern societies, it is regarded as a major catalyst for growth, and a yardstick through which a nation’s human capital development index is analyzed and measured.
In the same vein, higher education provides and equips the nation’s human capital resources with the necessary skills, attitude and aptitude to confront future challenges and function effectively in the ever dynamic global community. In other words, the quality of human capital resources available in a given society is largely determined and measured by the quality and functionality of its education system. An education system therefore, is said to be functional if it has the capacity to respond appropriately and proffer solutions to a myriad of socio-economic and political challenges in a society. In the words of T.S. Elliot, “It is in fact a part of the function of education to help us escape, not from our own time-- for we are bound by that – but from the intellectual and emotional limitations of our time”
The challenge before our tertiary institutions, particularly our Universities is not only to impart knowledge in their students, but to turn-out highly skilled, innovative and highly resourceful graduates to drive the economy and engineer growth in critical sectors in line with the global economic reality. Going by the current challenges and development in global economy, it has become imperative for us as a people desirous of purposeful change in the right direction, to look inward, and device programmes and ingenious technology through which our economy could be developed and rank among the best in the world.
As an advocate of qualitative and functional education, I have at various fora, emphasized the need to evolve an educational policy and system that will ensure sustainable growth and development in the economy. Our tertiary institutions, including the Lagos State University (LASU) must begin to turn out “fully baked” graduates with the right mental attitude, adequate and relevant skills and good aptitude to create jobs and bring about prosperity to the nation, not those who will turn out to be job seekers, dependants and liabilities on the society. Gone must be the days, when our university graduates peruse newspapers adverts and roam the streets in search of non-existing jobs.
Incidentally, the 16th Convocation of the Lagos State University is coming at a crucial period during the current global economic and financial challenges. When financial institutions, even in developed economies, appeared to have crumbled, with no visible signs of immediate recovery in sight, we need a crop of visionary and upwardly mobile graduates that will provide human capital to turn around the downturn trend in global economy. This indeed, a period of great challenges, but which obviously presents us with an opportunity to re-invent ourselves, look inward and develop ingenious ideas, skills and strategies with a view to moving forward as a people and as a nation.
While congratulating you on this achievement, you must however not loose sight of the enormous challenges ahead of you. As fresh graduates from one of the nation’s Ivory Towers, you are expected to put into practical demonstrations those intellectual and problem solving skills you have imbibed during your undergraduate training in the University. You have been taught how to fish, so go out there and catch the fish in the wide ocean of great possibilities ahead of you. Therefore, as you step out of this great Institution, you are expected to make your mark and impact positively on the society.
On our part, we shall continue to respond appropriately to the socio-economic welfare of our people. Our ongoing efforts at transforming the State to a functional mega-city require the support and cooperation of all and sundry to partner with us and ensure development in critical sectors of the economy. Your cooperation and synergy of ideas would be of tremendous boost as we continue in our collective efforts to bequeath to Lagosians, an African Model-Mega City that will be a pride of all.
At this juncture, may I commend the efforts and contributions of the governing council and the Vice- Chancellor, of this great institution, Professor Lateef Hussain, an excellent scholar and administrator, for the success achieved so far. We promise you that we shall continue to invest in the development of this great factory of human capital in the areas of grants for research, ICT development, provision of more library and laboratory resources among others. I want to assure you that we shall not relent in our efforts at transforming the University to a first class center of learning that will be a prime destination for scholars, researchers and students across the globe.
Let me also commend all students of this great institution, for maintaining the peace and cordial relations and understanding that had existed between you all and the management of the University. I urge you to continue in this spirit and maintain your good behavior as you project the good image of this institution.
As for the graduands, I once again congratulate you and urge you all to be good ambassadors of the Lagos State University, where ever you may find yourself. Indeed, the journey that lay ahead of you may be long and challenging. However, there are no limitations to a determined and courageous mind.
Therefore, I urge you to remain focused; reach for the depth of your imagination; discover your real self and forge ahead with sheer determination and confidence. Your education is meant to equip and prepare you for the future. As you progress in your determination to make your mark in the society, I urge you to be bold and strong. And the future before you is indeed bright and rewarding.
Thank you for listening.
“Eko O Ni Baje”!
BABATUNDE RAJI FASHOLA (SAN)
GOVERNOR, LAGOS STATE