Until Africa realizes that innovation and entrepreneurship are the key to the continent’s development, we will continue to remain at the mercy of the Western world. According to 7mindsets.com, todayUniversity students are prepared for jobs that probably don’t exist. It is therefore imperative for us to create autonomous and autonomous learners.
A true 21st century school is one that ensures its students master the 4Cs: critical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration. It does mean, however, that the way we approach teaching and learning in our schools must change. It is in light of this that Wellspring University in Edo State, Nigeria, emerged to change the narrative, championing change in the education sector in Africa.
University vice-chancellor Professor Isaac Rotimi Ajayi says the prosperity and wealth of nations largely depends on innovation and entrepreneurship. While many universities in the western world are moving in this direction, Nigerian universities are still lagging behind. Professor Isaac Ajayi, current Vice-Chancellor, WellSpring University, Edo State, shares his thoughts on the way forward for the country’s education sector.
Ajayi, with over thirty years of experience in academia, as a teacher, researcher and administrator, says he has visited and worked at several world-class and top-rated universities in the United States and Europe. . He notes that his travels have exposed him to the many pioneering work underway in these institutions. He explained that when juxtaposed with the situation in Nigeria, it is evident that the unhappy state of our higher education, especially regarding the lack of commercial research, puts the country far from the digital age.
“To the glory of God, I am a strong advocate for innovation in universities. I have been involved in innovation, particularly in foreign universities, and I have participated in collaborative research in Italy and Germany. I am still actively involved in collaborative work with some of them. As Vice-Chancellor, I am very committed to Wellspring University’s vision for innovation and entrepreneurship.
Explaining what innovation is, Ajayi said that innovation is responsible for the prosperity and wealth of nations and for transforming nations from underdeveloped nations into developed and advanced nations. “In a rapidly changing world, which has become knowledge-driven, the global economic landscape has become increasingly competitive. Only nations that are committed to imbibing entrepreneurship through innovative ideas will remain relevant in today’s global economy. “
From the industrial revolution of the 1800s to todayof the digital revolution, innovation has been the engine of economic growth and development. Evidence from developed economies shows that universities are the engine of national development because they stimulate innovation, provide quality human capital and influence democratic development, etc.
On how he views the Nigerian education sector, the innovation advocate says the overall state of education in Nigeria is a source of concern for all well-meaning Nigerians today as the sector has degenerated. to the point of providing the solution to be part of the problem. He felt that until the university system prioritizes skills development to equip Nigerians with the right skills for employability through investments in key programs, especially in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and technology, vocational education and training (TVET), the nation will not experience the desired development. He also mentioned the need to acquire digital literacy skills to boost the competitiveness of innovation and unleash the growth potential of various sectors.
Measuring the impact of higher education on national development, Prof Ajayi explained that the high rate of graduate unemployment in the face of the growth of the higher education sector is seen by many as indicative of the failure of the sector. to fulfill its mandate. “The failure of this sector to have a positive impact on national development is linked to factors such as lack of funding, inadequate infrastructure, brain drain, incompetent digital learning instructors, among others. “
The vice-chancellor added that the sector is also blamed for placing more emphasis on paper qualification as opposed to employability skills, innovation and creativity, as well as the lack of innovation evident in the dearth of scientific and technological progress. He said it was hoped that Nigeria’s new Medium Term National Development Plan 2021-2025 would tackle these challenges as planned.
On why Wellspring University is repositioning. The Vice-Chancellor explained that the institution in its 12th year is positioned to be globally competitive and it is in this regard that the institution focuses on three major pillars to achieve this goal. They understand; academic knowledge, skills development and research. “Our university focuses on the production of human capital for industries and, as such, the academic knowledge disseminated is relevant for contemporary changes to come in this field. To achieve this, we address two key areas, namely the program and the quality of the people delivering the program. “
Regarding skills development, the CV noted that rapid advances in technology have brought changes in the world of work and this requires a new set of skills in addition to academic knowledge. He said Wellspring is working diligently to bridge the global skills gap through the establishment of its well-equipped innovation lab and the Center for Entrepreneurship. “The goal of the WellSpring University Innovation Lab is to foster technology transfer, learning and research. The faculty members here are a mix of experts from industry and academia. He noted. He added that the innovation hub hopes to establish close relationships with various private sector industries with a mix of hybrids that will allow the lab to have a rich pool of faculty members from around the world.
Beyond academics, the biblical-based University has not failed to instill Christian principles and ethics into the learning experience of the student community. Speaking Ajayi said, “The founders of our noble institution have a very strong faith in the principle of our Lord Jesus Christ, and as such believe that when students are introduced to pious and healthy Christian principles, they have a way to ‘influence in them the positive values of life. expected of every good citizen in any society.