The need for Nigerian universities to become “Future Universities” that produce “Future-Ready Graduates” was the central point of the presentation made by the Vice-Chancellor of Igbinedion University, Professor Lawrence Ezemonye at the 10th Professor Adetokunbo Sofoluwe Memorial Lecture. The event was held on Thursday, June 15, 2023 at the Afe Babalola Auditorium, University of Lagos.
The Professor of Ecotoxicology and Environmental Forensics defined Future Universities “as institutions that prepare students for the challenges of the future by providing them innovative and interdisciplinary education today.”
In the same vein, he defined Future-Ready Graduates as “individuals who possess the skills, knowledge, characteristics, and dispositions necessary to succeed in an uncertain future. They are adaptable, resilient, and lifelong learners who are digitally literate and technologically fluent”.
On the basis of those definitions, the 10th Babatunde Sofoluwe Memorial Guest Lecturer made a strong case for Nigerian universities to be aware of the massive and rapid changes that technology has brought about.
“The landscape of higher education is changing rapidly and disruptively. The growing variety of higher education institutions, the cultural environment, and the competitive ecosystem are creating potential areas of dramatic change. The impact of technological advancements on education today has made it imperative for both the universities and the graduates to retool and re-equip themselves for relevance in the 21st Century”.
With his presentation titled, “Future Universities and Future-Ready Graduates: Transition from Rhetorics to Realities”, Professor Ezemonye advocated for the readiness of Nigerian universities to integrate their operations with technology.
“Technological integration is essential for universities to remain competitive and relevant in the rapidly changing landscape of higher education. Technology integration must be viewed as an instructional tool, not as a separate subject or isolated activity”, he said.
After harping on the significant roles that technology will play in the delivery of higher education in the world, the Guest Lecturer postulated on the Future University Framework, by which he highlighted three areas that universities must pay attention to. They are: Innovative Curriculum Design, Pedagogical Strategies for Future-Oriented Learning, and Cultivating Essential Future-Ready Skills.
His words: “Curriculum holds an outstanding place when seeking to promote innovation in education, as it reflects the vision for education by indicating the knowledge, skills, and values to be taught to students. If our universities will produce Future-Ready graduates, they must be look closely at the nature of their curriculum and fine-tune it to meet the pressing demands of the evolving world”.
Professor Ezemonye had glowing words of tribute for the 10th Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, late Professor Adetokunbo Babatunde Sofoluwe, in whose honour the event was held.
He described him as “a brilliant academic, an astute researcher and scholar, a versatile administrator and an accomplished Professor of Computer Science”.
He thanked the Lagos State Chapter of the UNILAG Alumni Association for the consistency with which they have organised the event in honour of the former Vice-Chancellor, noting that that their service would inspire younger generations of scholars in the mould of the late Professor Sofoluwe.
The daughter of the late Professor Adetokunbo Sofoluwe, Boluwatife Sofoluwe, was also present at the event to thank the Alumni Association and the University Management for the honour done to the memory of her late father every year. She expressed gratitude on behalf of the Sofoluwe Family.
The memorial lecture was graced by management staff of the university, led by Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development Services), Professor Ayodele Atsenuwa, who represented the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Folasade Ogunsola, OON. Other dignitaries present were: Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Management Services), Professor Lucian Chukwu; former Vice-Chancellor of the university, Professor Rahman Bello; Chairman of Vitafoam Nigeria Plc, who also doubled as Chairman of the occasion, Professor Rosemary Iriowen Egonmwan; Dean of the Postgraduate School, Igbinedion University, Professor Nnamdi Nwaodu; and Director of Linkages and Exchanges, Igbinedion University, Professor Deborah Odejinmi, among among others.
Prior Courtesy Visit
Prior to the commencement of the event, Chairman of the UNILAG Alumni Association (Lagos State Branch), Comrade Owoeye Adedeji, had led other members of the EXCO and the Guest Speaker, Professor Lawrence Ezemonye, on a courtesy visit to the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Folasade Ogunsola, OON.
They were received by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development Services), Professor Ayodele Atsenuwa who stood in for the Vice-Chancellor.
The Professor Adetokunbo Babatunde Sofoluwe Memorial Lecture is an annual event organised by the Lagos State Branch of the University of Lagos Alumni Association to honour the life and legacy of the 10th Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos who passed on to glory in 2012 while in active service.