Vice-Chancellor (VC), First Technical University Ibadan (TECH-U), Prof Ayobami Salami, says Nigeria needs the kind of disruptive education model the institution offers to address the problem of under development.
In just over a year since beginning academic activities January 2018, Salami said the university’s policy to implement its curriculum with the active participation of experts in the private sector was yielding positive fruits.
As a result, he said its two sets of about 400 students were taught by a mix of local and foreign scholars and experts who challenge them to be innovative, think critically and entrepreneurially.
Speaking on what set the institution apart, Ayobami said in an interview: “We have clearly positioned ourselves as a unique institution of higher learning cut-out from the pack of Nigeria’s increasingly saturated tertiary education space. Although we are a public institution, we are one with a difference. We seek to equip our students with relevant skill-sets they require to stand-out among their peers. This explains why it is mandatory for all of you to acquire an additional foreign language, get certified in at least two relevant vocations of your choice, and meet all conditions for the award of a diploma in entrepreneurship programme after series of interface with top-class industry experts who will prepare you ready for the world of work. As I say often, none of our student will ever become a liability to the society.
“Worthy of mention also, is the budding partnership the University enjoys with the organised private sector. This, for a start, culminated into a Curriculum Review session that had in attendance such notable organisations as the Nigeria Employers Consultative Council (NECA), Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) and a host of other reputable industry leaders. The benefit of that programme, I must say, has been quite invaluable, as it enabled the University to benefit in no small measures from the critical input of these players in shaping our curriculum and preparing the students for the world of work. We are glad and excited that we already have on-board a number of these topflight professionals signed-up as our facilitators; with many more joining the growing list soon. Of course, it needs to be underscored, once again, that at Tech-U the balance of instruction is shared 60 to 40 percent between our experienced academics and industry hands, respectively.”
Salami said the institution has its eyes on grooming students for the global job market and had begun establishing collaborations with reputable foreign institutions to enhance this dream.
Already, the VC said TECH-U has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Texas Technical University in the United States that would allow students spend a full semester in the U.S.
“TECH-U places more than a casual emphasis on partnerships. The partnership with the globally renowned University, Texas Tech University in the United States of America allows an exchange of staff and students. Henceforth, interested students of this University will be eligible to spend a full academic session at Texas Tech during their third session and may subsequently return there for postgraduate studies. As far as we know, such opportunity is not available in any other Nigerian University,” he said.
Students and their parents say they are enjoying the TECH-U experience. If there is anything that its students appreciate, it is the rigorous classes that sharpen their critical thinking skills and gives plenty room for practice.
Precious Omodunbi, who is studying Agricultural Engineering, said she loved the experience.
“Learning at the Technical University is a great and awesome experience that involves the developing of minds and the training of hands. Tech-U students are trained to be a responsible future leaders, creative inventors, innovators and ingenious entrepreneurs. Learning at the Technical University is based on an admirable blend of theory and practice,” she said.
Blessing Adedokun, a Biomedical Engineering student, said: “Tech-U lecturers are amazing. They adopt every possible method to make learning easier. I must confess that ever since I came to this university, my critical thinking skills have improved. The interaction between lecturers and students can be compared to the relationship between father and son. The students relate easily with the lecturers and this makes it easier to assimilate and ask questions in class”.
A parent, Mrs. Gbemisola Morolayo Adegbuyi, said her son had become more independent after a session at Tech-U.
“I am so happy that my son, IleriOluwa Adegbuyi is one of the pioneer students of Tech-U. The institution has really rubbed-off on him. I noticed a lot of changes in his reasoning pattern; he now argues more logically and objectively. He’s also more independent, as he thinks more on what he can do by himself rather than being pushed around, unlike before,” she said.