The need to drive a national educational system through innovation was the high point of discussion by stakeholders at the Chancellor’s dinner held recently in Lagos, in honour of the newly appointed Isaac Ajayi, vice-chancellor of WellSpring University, Edo State,
Ituah Ighodalo, speaking at the occasion said the Nigerian education system inherited from the British system to an extent that it was able to produce qualified manpower that contributed to national development. However, this system could no longer meet up with the demands of contemporary society.
Ighodalo added that the way forward to combat the challenges of the 21st century in our educational system is to embrace innovation in other to bring about the much-desired transformation of our country from a dependent-consuming economy to a production oriented economy.
The Chancellor notes. “The reason Nigerian students go abroad to study is due to lack of innovation and investment in the educational sector and its focus on remote learning. However, our University, founded by the Pro Chancellor, Daniel Isimoya, is poised to change the narrative as we build a new breed of students who will be economically relevant in today’s competitive world.”
Peter Obi, a former governor of Anambra State on his part, said the government should do everything possible to revamp Nigeria’s educational sector by investing more in it so as to be able to compete with their foreign counterparts.
He urged the management of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), to go beyond funding just government-owned higher institutions and review its policy to accommodate funding for private universities so as to aid their capacity to grow the educational sector through innovation.
Ajayi, the vice chancellor of WellSpring University, earlier, described the 10 percent Nigeria’s budgetary allocation on education as alarming.
He said learning in our country will continue to remain difficult with no access to textbooks, competent teachers and quality facilities for learning.
According to him, this has made learners study under stringent situations to pass exams.
“It should be noted that our system of education is not producing any effect on the economy and that academic institutions are only churning out graduates that cannot address issues.”
He added that the entire University curriculum should be reviewed, which, according to him, Wellspring has been doing; ensuring it is skill based, with emphasis on innovation and certification in ICT.
“Education is so critical and vital that the government must invest in it. I was in Latin America, and when I entered their classroom, I was surprised. In fact, some of the labs I saw in the US are bigger than many of our industries.
If we must have a kind of education that will propel us to greatness, every citizen must be educated. And there is no amount of money too much for the Federal Government to achieve quality education,” he noted.
Lending voice to the discussion, Folasade Adefisayo, the Lagos State Commissioner for Education, lamented the state of our current system of education as being “too exam focused.”
She said students only read to pass and come out as graduates that are not relevant to the economy.
Adefisayo opined that if our graduate must compete well in the marketplace, we must change the narrative by encouraging skill-based learning as well as build a system or model that allows collaboration with ‘Town-Meets-Gown’ where those who are already excelling in the field come share,mentor and give opportunity for internship to those still in the classroom.