For the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), the just-ended Year 2011 left on its trail, indelible and fond memories of remarkable impacts, crystallizing the institution into a haven of achievements.
Investigations by FUNAAB Bulletin revealed that the previous year signaled the commencement of the intention of the Federal Government for specialized universities in the country to go conventional, thus creating more opportunities of access to higher education.
The Visitor to the University, President Goodluck Jonathan, represented by the Education Minister, Prof. (Mrs.) Ruquayyatu Rufa’i, at the institution’s last Convocation Ceremony, had tasked FUNAAB to ‘take the bull by the horn’ and diversify its curricula.
With a good hindsight of the inherent challenge in the pronouncement of Mr. President, the proactive Professor Oluwafemi Olaiya Balogun-led Management was not caught napping as it immediately set machineries in motion for the realization of the fresh mandate.
Within just two months, a special Committee, set up to midwife the University’s conventional status was able to deliver the operational blueprint and academic brief for the establishment of the College of Management Sciences (COLMAS), thus paving way for a smooth take-off, through the construction of befitting infrastructure, recruitment and deployment of qualified Academic and Non-Teaching staff, allocation of official vehicles and the admission of eligible students.
A few weeks ago, the National Universities Commission (NUC) granted approval to the programmes of the College, namely; Accounting, Banking and Finance, Business Enterprise Management, Entrepreneurial Studies and Economics.
Checks also revealed that FUNAAB took another giant stride in 2011, by regularizing its Academic Calendar to the admiration of all stakeholders.
The University’s success story will certainly not be complete without making reference to her emergence as the 7th Best University in Nigeria, based on a World Webometrics Ranking of Universities.
This was a no mean feat for FUNAAB, taking cognizance of the fact that the institution beat some first and second generation universities, all of its peers in the third generation category and the hordes of mega-rich private universities, to breast the tape of honour.
Also worthy of note is the reconstruction of roads such as the Ceremonial and Ring Roads, opening-up and tarring of new ones, completion of edifices such as the Postgraduate School, College of Food Science and Human Ecology building.
The year witnessed an unprecedented influx of staff, both Academic and Non-Teaching, quarterly sponsored to various overseas’ capacity building programmes, in Israel, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, India, United Kingdom, among others, totaling 78 beneficiaries; with 31 from academic, 44 non-teaching and three students
The University was also in the year, honoured for being one of the foremost research-focused institutions in Africa by the SCimago Institutions Ranking (SIR), 2011 World Reports.
In December, the University was awarded the best University of Agriculture in Africa by the Le Matinal Educational Excellence Award in conjunction with the World Education Congress and the Asian Confederation of Businesses in Mauritius.
The improvement in the area of teaching standard received a major boost when the University was picked amongst 12 others for the pilot scheme of the Nigerian Universities Electronic Teaching and Learning Platform (NUELP) whereby ICT-enabled teaching and learning platforms were deployed by the NUC, including a number of interactive whiteboards TPS-8120, audio-visual teaching aids and clipart resources, among others.
All these strings of achievements and the enduring peace on campus, could not have been accidental, recalling that FUNAAB staff and students led by the Vice-Chancellor, had on the first working day of 2011, as has now become the norm, prayed God for a successful year.
Professor Balogun, had in his speech at the prayer altar, assured the community of his conviction that the “Glory of the latter shall be greater than the former”.