By Rotimi Ojomoyela
Ado-Ekiti- As part of the ways to ensure qualitative education at the university cadre in the country, the former Vice Chancellor of the Obafemi Awolowo University(OAU) , Ile Ife, Prof Michael Faborode and the founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, Chief Afe Babalola(SAN), have advocated improved teaching methodologies in higher institutions.
The duo said there was need for Nigerian universities to always train and retrain their academic staff in modern techniques of teaching to ensure participation in classes and improve learning in the country’s citadels of learning.
They spoke at a workshop on teaching and learning methodology in Higher institutions held in ABUAD on Monday .
Specifically, Babalola said it was a great mistake for the country to have abolished the Teacher Training Colleges, describing the avenue as the first port where professional teachers are exposed to teaching techniques.
He advocated re-introduction of Teacher Training education, scrapped many years ago by the Federal government.
The renowned lawyer expressed fears that unless such damage control mechanism were taken into action in record time, many Nigerian graduates would likely continue to be unemployable.
According to Babalola, “The state of education in Nigeria today is no doubt deplorable and highly undesirable at all levels, tertiary education in particular has become a mere formal process for obtaining higher certificates without imparting on the substance for which the institutions are established
” Some of the problems are traced to poor teaching and learning methods among others. A very critical area which has hitherto been neglected is that of quality teaching methods.
“Teaching, an otherwise important calling has become the last choice of those who could not get jobs elsewhere, it has thus become something for every Tom, Dick and Harry.
“It is unfortunate that the common assumption today is that a student who graduates with a First Class or Second Class(Upper Division) Degree is eminently qualified to teach because of the degrees, especially if he added a Masters or Doctoral degrees to it.
” This is however far from the truth. It is one thing to obtain university degree and yet another thing to be able to impart knowledge to another person in a way he or she can understand the process.”
He said it was wrong for those without teaching certificates to be allowed to veer into the profession unchallenged, saying this accounted for the well permeated decadence in the education sector.
“Teaching is not just for anybody, it is for those who were trained in teaching methodology to be able to deliver optimally for better output from students, but unfortunately,this is not so in Nigeria.Those without certificates in education also teach.
“No matter how good, brilliant one may be, he needs to be trained and retrained to be a good teacher. My experience as a pupil teacher 71 years ago and later Vice Principal made me to carry out a lot of reforms as a Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council of University of Lagos.
“Under my watch, I made UNILAG to be ranked first in Nigeria. Again, I was nominated as the best Pro Chancellor twice. So, when I established ABUAD, the mandate is to leave a legacy of excellence that will bring about qualitative education in Nigeria.
“For a teacher to be considered a good one, he must master his subject, take interest in the students and make himself accessible to students. That remains the best way for him to impact positively on the students. He must be confident without being overbearing. He must also be resourceful, so that he can have up to date knowledge about his area of specialization,” he said.
Faborode commended ABUAD for being a pacesetter in the efforts to revive the country’s citadels of learning, by exposing lecturers to basic techniques in teaching to improve quality of education.
“As a former Vice Chancellor, my opinion on universities is not based on proposition, but on facts. With this workshop, ABUAD has once again showed that it was at the forefront of university education in Nigeria.
“Though, there were a lot of freedom in the universities, but teaching is universal. It has the same format that needed to be respected, failing which the students will derive no values in what the teachers are teaching and this is not good for the system,” he said.
Apart from Prof Faborode, those billed to deliver lectures at the workshop are : Professor B.O. Popoola from OAU, the OAU Librarian, Mrs B.O. Asubiojo, Prof Bisi Onasanya, Vice Chancellor , Ekiti State University , Prof Samuel Oye Bandele, Prof Henry Owolabi, Mr. B. Ogundipe and Mr. O. Adekoya.