The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, yesterday, at the convocation of the Rivers State University offered a student living with disability, James E. Daniel with N50million and automatic job at the University for bagging a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree.
The Governor, however, cautioned all Rivers State-owned universities to stop indiscriminate conferment of doctoral degrees on all manner of questionable candidates and people of material influence.
Wike announced Daniel’s N50m reward and automatic appointment as a lecturer of the university during the 33rd convocation of the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt.
The Governor said the honour bestowed on Dr. Daniel was in recognition of his academic excellence and for being a source of inspiration to persons living with disabilities.
The governor directed the Governing Council and managements of state universities to sanitise their internal academic systems.
He said they should stop every inappropriate policy, practice or procedure that compromised the high quality academic standards required of tertiary institutions.
Wike said from inception, the Rivers State University had been in the forefront of providing tertiary education and training to people of the state.
He observed that like the mustard seed, the university had grown from the little beginnings to become one of the largest and leading state government-owned institutions in the country.
The Governor emphasised that serious universities jealously guarded their reputation and awarded doctoral degrees only to students who had gone through years of rigorous intellectual research and interrogation with dissertation independently adjudged to be sound and contributory to new learning.
He, however, described as unfortunate, the current trend and practice in universities of awarding doctoral degrees indiscriminately, like chieftaincy titles, to all manner of questionable candidates.
He said: “This practice must stop in all Rivers State Government-owned tertiary institutions as we demand greater character, commitment and responsibility from staff and management to the vision and fundamental objectives of university education.
“First of all, the programmes that you offer must equip the students with relevant skills, entrepreneurial or otherwise so that on graduation they can start their own businesses and professional practice and become creators of jobs from the beginning; and not jobless seekers of elusive jobs.”
The Governor commended the present Governing Council for its leadership and unprecedented achievements in infrastructural development for the last six years.
He charged the council to stop the embarrassing erosion of the value and quality of the certificates and degrees being awarded by the university.
He said: “This is the only way you can be recognized globally and be able to benchmark, collaborate and partner with other top universities across the world in applied research and innovation relevant to the local and international labour markets.”
He, however, reminded them that the time graduates had an easy and almost predictable movements; from education, to work, and finally, to pension was over.
He assured that the infrastructural development in the university started by his administration, including the four new campuses at Ahoada, Emohua, Ebara and Sakpenwa, would be completed by the second quarter of 2022.
“We will also continue to support the university to strengthen its staffing needs and the provision of enhanced digital infrastructure to deliver quality education and training to improve competitiveness and employability of our graduates”.