Education and Africa

What is the aim and purpose of education? This is not about to answer that question. However I think the Presidential Committee to harness ALL Nigerian First Class Brain's is an important scheme. All meaningful Nigerians should share one vision for developing a technical elite capable of assuming leadership in industry, education and government. However the post graduate scholars and their chosen fields must be based on futuristic demands from Nigerian industry, government, academic and economic perspectives.

The choice of international universities, albeit expensive, is nonetheless commendable. It is a common characteristic of universities of high international standing that high quality teaching is supported, underpinned and enhanced by research at the highest levels. The world's top universities recognise this synergy between education and research and ensure that teaching is undertaken by excellent staff who are at the leading edge of their discipline.

This also portends lessons for the staff of African universities. Research excellence as evidenced by publications in high impact journals, presentations at major international conferences and collaboration with leading international groups and industry, is the key to career success for academic staff. Moreover, the global reputation of a university is largely established by this research standing, It is therefore a matter of the highest priority that African Universities address the provision of research infrastructure.

Let me put this in lay mans terms. It is UNPARDONABLE that any african university lacks BASIC internet connectivity in all halls of residence not to talk about classrooms, laboratories and teaching halls. It is not too much to expect open air hot spots around the various campuses. This should be free to all students and staff with zero down time. No matter what is going on in the wider society, the citadels of learning must be kept immune from situations of power failure and obsolete laboratory infrastructure. It is crucial that to win the future students must have up-to-date practical laboratory experience and knowledge in the use of modern test equipment. That is not too much to ask of a growing Africa.

Truth be told the world is moving away from engineers, doctors, pharmacists and lawyers. The new world order requires "flexible engineers", "flexible doctors" etc. That is engineers and doctors with the solid technical and medical knowledge but also well developed "soft skills" such as team working, criticial thinking, effective communication and time management. Why? Organisations the world over need graduates with leadership potential, good communication and presentation skills and knowledge of international standards. The leaders of tomorrow must be trained with the resources of today and the time starts now.

(This blog responds to the news paper article below....)

Jonathan: 60% of Varsity Dons without Ph.D, Articles | THISDAY LIVE


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