Eminent scholar, Prof Toyin Falola has declared that for Nigeria to be competitive in the global economy, the country needs to incentivize productivity. In doing this, he said the nation needs a level of national discipline to cultivate the habit of productivity through the appropriate use of technology to encourage local productions.
Falola, who is the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities at the University of Texas at Austin, was the guest speaker at the first annual distinguished lecture of Technical University (Tech-U), Ibadan.
Speaking on the theme, “Technology, culture and society”, Falola said we, as a nation should begin to consider how we can maximize the knowledge of technology to drive more economic growth by marketing our cultural resources to the global buyers.
“The fact that our sociocultural system harbours a wealth of cultural resources should be a convincing reason for us to take a giant step in our search for technological knowledge”.
Falola further challenged Nigeria not to abandon its cultural identity in pursuit of technological revolution, adding “As thinkers, we must not leave any stone unturned as the world is gravitating towards identity revolution, and the people who can refine theirs and not abandon it would stand the hurricane of cultural erosion that is set to sail by globalisation.
“As such, this institution would serve as the anchor of the societal values that have suffered strict abandonment under the colonial and postcolonial hypnosis”, Falola added.
He extolled the strides made by the university since it debuted two years ago, pointing out that the school would no doubt play a critical role in the transformation of the nation.
“Apparently, a tertiary institution like Tech-U in Nigeria is long overdue in a country as big as Nigeria. Saddled with the responsibility to develop our youths in preparing them to meet up with the prevailing challenges of the society, the university holds enough promises in grooming brilliant youths as a way to anchor our journey to technological revolution that will fill the spaces that were plagued with abandonment and catapult us to position of envy where we would enjoy the privilege of global competitions in solving problems.
“I must concede that the offered courses in the institution spell clearly its social and educational mandates and the roads to achieving these goals have been cleverly mapped out. Courses such as mechatronics engineering, biomedical engineering, food sciences and technology, cyber security, computer science, software engineering, physics with electronics, petroleum engineering, industrial chemistry and statistics show exclusively that the university’s planners are in tune with the educational currency of the global community and are committed to making groundbreaking accomplishments in this respect.
The university teacher noted that with the school’s ’s ability to combine intelligence with skill acquisitions, it is no doubt paving ways for a generation of problem solvers and financially stable individuals who would compete well in globally dynamic markets.
Falola urged the new government in Oyo and other stakeholders to see the university as theirs, saying its products – students, research and patents would transform the city of Ibadan and by extension, put Nigeria on the global map of technological advancing nation.”
Governor Seyi Makinde who was represented by his deputy, Engineer Rauf Olaniyan, lauded Tech-U for its unique brand of education and for blazing the trail in bridging the skills gap of young people in the country.
Assuring of government’s support, Makinde said his administration holds education in high esteem.
The vice chancellor, Prof Ayobami Salami assured that the school is committed to projecting Oyo State into national and international reckoning as a strategic player in meeting human capital requirements in newly emerging and projected new work areas, notably in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
As part of activities for the lecture, Olaniyan and the university chancellor, Chief Tunde Afolabi performed a foundation laying ceremony for the internally generated revenue-funded workshop and laboratory complex of the university while also commissioning two newly completed 250-seater lecture theatres.