NOBODY WANTED TO IDENTIFY WITH OUR UNIVERSITY BECAUSE OF CULTISM — AGBOOLA, OOU VC
Prof. Deji Agboola is the Vice Chancellor, Olabisi Onabanjo University, OOU, Ogun State, an institution currently celebrating its 40th anniversary. In this interview, he shares the achievements of the university, challenges of funding and how menace of cultism nearly ruined the institution. Excerpts:
Celebrating 40 years of academic excellence is a commendable one, what do you consider the school’s greatest achievements so far?
Given the circumstance surrounding the school when it started, the quality of our products is one of our greatest achievements. We started with about 522 students and now, we have about 30, 000 students. For instance, all the principal officers here, from the VC to the two deputy VCs, the Registrar, and the Liberian, all finished from this university. A lot of Provosts and Deans were products of this university. We have our products that are doing well in the banking sector, like the MD of Polaris Bank. Also, the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo lectured here for a while and his wife is an alumnus of this school. We have others in judiciary and politics doing well. These are the things we are proud of and the technological inroad we have made in areas of Artificial Intelligence, AI. We would think that other big federal universities would have done that earlier, but we are the first to seize the opportunity.
We also take our major classes online. If you don’t have the time to be in the class for a lecture, you can actually connect to the school’s free Wi-Fi and join the class online. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we had our classes online and became the first school that used artificial intelligence to screen candidates for Post-UTME. You can see our ICT centre; it’s a massive one with over 3000 seater. It’s the largest. We also have the best library virtual in the country because NUC asked for three or four databases but we have 26 databases. It’s well- equipped. So, every time we have visitors, we like to showcase our library to them because it’s the best.
In the area of technology, we use smart boards to teach. It’s internet enabled and gives live experiences during practical exercises. We pride ourselves in the area of technology. We have a system in which our results come out two to three weeks after examination. For instance, last year, our students had an examination in December 17-18 and we were able to do the convocation in January. In most cases, you don’t find it possible except with technological inroad that we have made. So, what we do is that when they finish examinations, we upload the scores; the system automatically calculates the GP and all that. Even the fresh students will have a copy of their result. When we talk about the transcript; the ones we have problems with are those of the students who graduated a long time ago. But for those who graduated from 2015/ 2016, it’s seamless in getting their transcript. You can even have your own student’s copy because it’s there; you can print it yourself but if you demand for it, it’s uploaded already in the system. So, these are the two things that university is proud of, our technology inroads and quality of products.
What about funding, do you receive adequate funding from the Ogun State government?
Anywhere in the world, the government alone does not fund education. Those institutions outside the country of which we are proud of are not being funded by the government. Institutions will do better through endowment than government funding. Government is doing its own part through subvention. However, at the same time, we also need to have individuals and corporate organisations that can actually invest and do a cost-benefit analysis of what programmes we are running and of what benefit are the programmes we to the community, state and the nation.
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