Prof. Ignatius Onimawo, the Vice-Chancellor of the Ambrose Ali University (AAU), Ekpoma in Edo, says the institution will digitise its operations to a world class level by 2020, making it the best state-owned university in Nigeria.
Onimawo made this known in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Benin,, saying the university also looked forward to being among the country’s best 10 higher institutions
He said, “It is my vision to make AAU the best state-owned university and one of the best 10 higher institutions in the country in the next three years.
“The way to go about that is to fully digitise the operations of the institution to a world class level.
“We have really made our mark in the area of academic excellence. We may not have done well in terms of infrastructure ; but we are seriously improving on the landscape.
“On my assumption of duty, I realised that the university needs to have a particular vision that everybody will key into and pursue; because if you have no vision, you will not have the mission.
“So, my vision has been and it is still that before I leave here at the end of my tenure, AAU will be among the 10 best universities in Nigeria and the best state university in the country.
“We are actually on the path of doing that, and we are doing so many things that many older universities are not doing.’’
He said that there were criteria for ranking universities and expressed confidence that the institution would soon make it into the class of choice universities.
Listing some of the criteria, he said, “One is internet visibility. How interactive is your website with the outside world and how current is it?
“So, anybody that wants to rank AAU must first and foremost, go to our website, click on it and what he or she is seeing there.
“Secondly, the use of ICT, where we have excelled. We won the best university in ICT compliance. So, this too, can take us up from wherever we were before.
“The other is the academic programmes that the university has, particularly, the post-graduate programmes.”
The vice chancellor said the university had many post-graduate programmes, with almost all departments accredited by NUC being among those running such programmes.
“Post-graduate programmes are related to research. So, if you have a robust post-graduate programme, it can be assumed that some researches are going on in that institution.
“These are some of the things that they normally use; but there could be other criteria.
“I want to believe that when you look at it, they may have seen lots of improvement in the areas of our visibility and the inter activeness of our website, our ICT and all that,’’ he said.
Onimawo disclosed that some of the innovations of his about eleven months old administration include introduction of the paperless senate sessions, computer-based students’ session examinations and the conduct of E-SUG election.
He said AAU was currently conducting computer-based examination for 100 and 200 level students.
“This will obviously eliminate vices of sexual harassment, delay in release of results, missing results and blocking syndrome.
“Our results are uploaded in our websites as soon as the examinations are over.
“And because of the high internet visibility, we also recently successfully conducted an E-students’ union government election, whereby students voted electronically with their smart phones from their various locations.
“The exercise, the first of its kind in any higher institution in Nigeria, was hitch-free and was monitored by NANS president.
“There is so much progress in the area of ICT and very soon we are going to join the NG-Realm. NG-Realm is a platform where you can connect with other universities in Nigeria and you can do video conference,” Onimawo said.
The vice-chancellor said the institution had also recorded several other feats.
“We have had a lot of awards. You know there was a time they said AAU could not keep records.
“But, today, we won the best financial accounting institution in Nigeria. So, our books are open because we have a good accounting system using the latest ICT,’’ he said.