No Quality Teaching without Quality Research – Professor Faborode
A former Vice-Chancellor, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Professor Michael Faborode, has charged tertiary institutions in Nigeria and Africa on the imperative of improving on their research activities, so as to have a corresponding improvement in the quality of teaching.
Prefessor Faborode proffered this suggestion, at the Convocation Lecture of Covenant University held recently on the institution’s premises in Ota, Ogun State. The lecture had as its theme, ‘Benchmarking the Quality and Relevance of Higher Education for National Development.’
While delivering his paper, which focused largely on the relevance of higher education to national development, the guest lecturer, Professor Faborode, who is also the Secretary-General, Association of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (AVCNU), stated, “The challenge and mandate of universities now relate to providing access to higher education for the teeming population of African youths, producing skilled and creative graduates to tackle African development challenges, and undertaking research to use science and innovation to provide solutions to tackle poverty, underdevelopment, and bridge the African inequality gap.”
According to Professor Faborode, “We need a new strong commitment to research: in the entire system, but particularly in science and technology; no Quality Teaching without Quality Research.”
Commenting on the disparity between African Universities and their contemporaries around the world, he stated that the level of collaboration and partnership between African universities is inadequate. “Whereas, no African university has the capacity to compete on its own at a global level; the only way that we can equalize the global playing field is if African institutions partner with each other,” he said.
He stated that the time has come for African universities to create a global academy of commons – a global community of scholars, who although responsive to the local and national needs of our society, nevertheless, transcend national polities to practice a ‘science’ that produces knowledge for the collective human community.
“Ultimately,” he said, “we need an African higher education system that is accessible and transformed, nationally responsive and globally competitive, diverse and cosmopolitan. Such a system would allow our universities to develop and imbibe the corpus of scientific knowledge, apply it to our context, re-imagine and innovate it, and contribute it back to the global academy. It will also allow us to produce graduates who are simultaneously African and human; citizens of both the nation and the world.”
He asserted that Vice Chancellors of Nigerian and South African Universities must partner to provide leadership for the emergence of this African Higher Education Commons, for it is only through such a well crafted alliance that we can compete with the best global universities.
Professor Faborode advised that to bridge the knowledge gap and close the global development divide, African governments, especially Nigeria, must increase the level of their investment in funding higher education, as well as embrace bold initiatives for diversified funding by other stakeholders. “One of such is to mobilize resources from the private financial sector with government collateral support and institutional collaboration for the recovery of student loans,” he noted.
A necessary corollary, he said, is the adequate provision for scholarships and bursaries for brilliant and indigent students to remove inequity. The universities too need to accentuate their internal revenue generation through activities to raise resources from alternative sources, including entrepreneurial and commercialization engagements, uptake of applied research outputs, endowments, philanthropy, etc.
In his remarks at the event, the Chancellor of Covenant University, Dr. David Oyedepo, who was ably represented by the Education Secretary, Living Faith Church World Wide, Professor (Mrs.) Bridget Sokan, commended the guest lecturer for a great job. She noted that the lecturer was very apt and spoke of what we should be doing to encourage Nigeria’s developmental goals and encouraged participants who are stakeholders, to apply themselves to the efforts necessary to building up the research base of our universities.
“We need to be more visible than we are now, make ourselves more marketable, and tune up our engagement to such levels that we can be sighted and be seen as globally relevant. We need to also look around the industries in our local environment and see how we can collaborate with them and meet their needs, thereby, moving closer to our goals,” she said.
In his remarks, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Charles Ayo appreciated the guest lecturer, invited guests, faculty and staff, and all graduating students of the University for joining to make the event a success. He enjoined all participants to imbibe the strategies highlighted in the lecture of the day for effective developmental steps in the education sector and ultimately, the nation in general.
While making his remarks, Dr. Noel Saliu, a representative of the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, Professor Julius Okojie, expressed excitement over the soaring profile of Covenant in the comity of universities in Nigeria and indeed Africa. He encouraged the university to continue on the path to excellence and in redefining the role of education in the development of the nation.
Also present at the event were the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Taiwo Abioye; the Registrar, Pastor Olamide Olusegun; the Director, Financial Services, Pastor Bayo Oladehinbo; the Covenant University Chaplain, Pastor Charles Ihekweaba; Deans of Colleges; HODs and other members of faculty and staff.