President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday directed that all Nigerian university undergraduates would now be required to offer a compulsory course in entrepreneurship in their degree programmes.
Jonathan gave the directive on the second day of the 2010/2011 convocation ceremony of the University of Lagos.
The two-day ceremony is for the award of first and higher degrees, diplomas, certificates and prizes.
The president, who was represented by the Minister of Education, Ruquayyatu Rufai, said the move was to ensure that Nigerian graduates were adequately empowered and self-reliant.
He said that the course would also open them to other viable employment opportunities.
“We will not stop at giving our youth quality education. The reforms which are ongoing in other sectors of the economy will also help to create a conducive environment for entrepreneurship to thrive.
“The transformation agenda of this government is to provide access to quality education to the majority of our youth who desired such,” Mr. Jonathan said.
He said that Nigeria could only progress as a nation if its youth were gainfully employed or otherwise engaged in other useful purposes.
The president said that already the new job creation scheme ‘the Youth Enterprise with Innovation (YOUWIN)’ was set to create at least 100,000 jobs for youths between the ages of 18 years and 35 years in the next four years.
He said that his administration would continue to enhance the education sector, stressing that it was strategic to the overall transformation of the national economy.
The president commended the students and management of the University for sustaining peace in the community.
Mr. Jonathan urged the graduands to rise above the limitations of the job market by using the knowledge they had acquired to build their careers and make themselves great citizens.
Earlier, the university’s Vice Chancellor, Adetokunbo Sofoluwe, said that of the 8,585 graduands, 118 distinguished bagged First Class honours.
Giving a breakdown, Mr. Sofoluwe said that the First Class graduands spread across all the faculties, with the Faculty of Engineering coming tops with 37, including the overall best.
He said that the School of Postgraduate Studies awarded 73 doctorates in the Faculties of Medicine, Engineering, Law and Pharmacy.
Mr. Sofoluwe said that the university had established a structure that would boost postgraduate education, while still running its undergraduate programmes.
He said the development was to enable the School of Postgraduate Studies to train the huge number of academic staff needed in the new universities, as well as other tertiary institutions in the country.
The don said efforts were on to commence a degree programme in Terrorism Studies, saying that the new programme was in tune with emerging global challenges.
Mr. Sofoluwe said that instructors for the programme would consist of members of the academia, professionals and specialists, adding that they would combine theory and practice needed for counter-terrorism challenges in the country.
Meanwhile, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Gamaliel Onosode, challenged the nation’s university system to chart the course of national development.
“The academia must be prepared to carry grave responsibilities for how far and how quickly Nigeria can get on top, as we must be willing to show leadership, even if we have to pay a prize.
“Nigeria is now facing a very challenging moment, but I pray that it would rise above all odds to overcome and take its position of pride in the comity of nations,’’ he said.
Onosode pledged total commitment in his capacity as pro-chancellor to ensure that the university ranked amongst the world’s best in no distant time.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that this year’s convocation ceremony coincided with the 50th anniversary of establishment of the university, founded in 1962.