By Seun Oyewole
Edo University Iyamho (EUI) is a study in excellence and a lesson in innovation. Established to deliver quality education in a nation where standard is an issue of concern, the authorities are sparing no effort to achieve the mission.
Situated in the serene Iyamho community on the Auchi-Abuja Expressway, EUI is designed as a technology age institution comparable not only with the best in Nigeria but also in the developed world.
What is on offer at EUI raises the bar in university system in Nigeria and has the potential to reduce education tourism among young school leavers in search of 21st century universities abroad.
The first set of students of the university, who set their foot on campus in 2016 when EUI opened its gates to begin the noble mission of impacting 21st century education in Nigeria, is due to graduate shortly.
Notably, the young age of EUI belies its achievements. In 2018 when it was barely two years old, it university was ranked the Best State University and Third Best University in Nigeria by the National Universities Commission (NUC) in Open Educational Resources (OER) Ranking.
This is significant and a plus for EUI as the exercise showed that it is officially among the best universities in Nigeria.
The ranking is a product of the EUI huge investments in e-library which the University Librarian, Mr Abdulraham Garuba, says students are excited about.
“The founders of this university felt that students should be able to access information even in the comfort of their homes. There are so many library management systems available, some of which are expensive and we thought we can be innovative and find a way to make information available to students without paying so much. So with ICT, we came up with an e-library. whether one is online or not. We found a way of accessing electronic books suitable for our students or recommended by lecturers. So while we have physical books on the shelf, we also make sure that we have electronic copies so that students, within the comfort of their hostels can assess the materials. Our students are excited about this”, Mr. Garuba told Sunday Vanguard.
It is not only on e-library that EUI is making the difference in Nigeria’s university system.
Call it innovation or whatever, this young university has recorded many firsts.
EUI, for example, is the first university in West Africa to acquire the Canvas Learning Management System used by 70% of Ivy League Universities (six of them are among the 10 best universities in the world).
What Canvas does is to simplify teaching and learning by connecting all the digital tools teachers use in one easy place.
Dr Femi Abifarin, HoD, Public and International Law, spoke to Sunday Vanguard on the importance of Canvas: “Our lectures are delivered through multi-media and Canvas Learning Management System (there is no faculty of law in any other university in Nigeria that has that learning management system).
Through that learning system, you communicate with students online and the advantage is that learning is not restricted to the classroom and to a particular time. “It means you can receive lectures and even take tests anywhere you might be. This system is obtainable in Havard, Yale and Oxford, among others. But we are the only university in Nigeria at the moment that has keyed into the learning system. This makes Edo University an institution of choice for any student seeking university admission and marketing point”.
In the medical field, EUI, meanwhile, ranks as the first university not only in Nigeria but also in Africa to acquire Anatomage Table, the most advanced digital equipment or device available for training in pre-clinical medical education
Dr Adejoke Memudu, HoD Anatomy of the university, spoke on the significance of the device, “We are the only university in Nigeria that uses Anatomage to teach students. Anatomage is a medical education teaching aid as opposed to the traditional method of using cadavers in the dissection process. This is a visual table, a 3D technology that helps in dissection in anatomy.
“This gives us an edge as a university in medical education because this is an advanced technology to impact knowledge in anatomy. In other universities, what you have are gross labs and models.”
Prof. O.O. Akinyinka, Provost of the EUI College of Medicine, corroborated Memudu’s statement when he called Anatomage Table the most modern platform, a 3D system of teaching anatomy.
“That gives us pride of place to say this is a great institution”, Akinyinka pointed out.
Notwithstanding, the importance of the Anatomage Table to the teaching of anatomy, and more than one year after EUI acquired the Anatomage Table, many universities across the country are just in the process of acquiring the device.
The Provost added: “We are also among the few institutions which have the power lab system. This is the most modern way of teaching physiology practical and pharmacology”.
Still in the medical field, the university is the second or third in Nigeria to adopt competency-based curriculum in the training of medical students, the first being University of Ibadan (UI) and University of Lagos jostling with EUI for the second position.
The wind of innovation blowing through EUI is not invisible at the Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences where the Nursing Department is the flagship. Dr. Anthony Ugheyen, Acting Dean, explained: “This is the best place to study this course (nursing) in Nigeria. For example we have a laboratory that is of world class standard where we use mannequins to simulate hospital situation and students learn first-hand some of these things that you can’t find elsewhere”.
Ugheyen added, “Our programmes in Edo University are specialised: Biochemistry, Medical Laboratory Science, Nursing Science; coming on board are Anatomy and Physiology. These help to enhance the university’s capacity and training of students”
This may sound alien to the public university system in Nigeria but the situation at EUI is that all classrooms, workshops and laboratories are equipped with projectors, multimedia systems, smart boards and automatic temperature-controlled air-conditioning systems.
The Mass Communication Department parades the latest equipment in radio and television broadcasting as well as a language laboratory while the facilities at the engineering workshops are top-notch.
Power outage is never a problem as the campus runs on 24-hour-power supply; so also is the supply of potable water in the university community. There is also Wi-Fi service across the length and breadth of the campus, buses for the movement of staff and students, and adequate security in terms of technology with the deployment of CCTV cameras across the campus as well as man-guards.
The Faculty of Science laboratories parade world class equipment to teach students in a manner that will ensure that they do not only know but also inculcate applying the knowledge
Dr (Mrs) M.Maliki, Dean of Science, in an attestation to all of these and in apparent reference to the potentials EUI offers in stemming education tourism.said, “Because of the quality of education we provide, many parents do not send their children abroad to acquire education anymore. They send them here”.
Prof. Godwin Vasseh Dean of Arts, Management and Social Sciences and Engr. (Prof) Evbogbai Edeki, Dean of Engineering of Edo University echoed similar sentiments in separate interviews.
“I am widely travelled and what I see here is what is available in world class universities across the world”, Vasseh said.
On his part, Evbogbai stated: “We have adequate facilities in our workshops that give us the opportunity to make furniture and do metal works. This is a modern and world class university. In the woodwork and engineering workshops, we have equipments that stand us out”.
At the Entrepreneurship Development Centre, all students are mandated to undertake at least two units of entrepreneurial training per year while there is an arrangement in place to reward the graduating student with the best entrepreneurial idea with a sum of five million naira to start a business.
The sports complex makes available to students different sporting activities, ranging from outdoor to several indoor games. Of a truth, the football pitch, which sits elegantly at the middle of the sport complex, is just as beautiful as those of the English Premier League.
Away from the classrooms, the hostels are a beauty to behold as they come with cafeterias, supermarkets, recreation rooms and reading halls with modern furniture, toilet wares and beddings all to ensure that the students are not only comfortable but also for them to appreciate the environment in which they are learning.
Engr. (Dr) Vincent Balogun, Dean of Students Affairs, aptly captures the scenario when he said, “We have 5-star accommodation. The rooms are en suite. You have everything you need in the hostels; it is a home away from home. We have three types of hostels: Regular, Premium, Executive! Students choose based on capacity”.
And Akinyinka, the Provost of the College of Medicine, hit the nail on the head, saying EUI has a “unique curriculum, unique learning environment and committed staff”.
The students themselves appreciate the quality of education they are receiving at the university campus as can be seen in the testimonials of those who spoke to Sunday Vanguard.
Sake Grace Omadere, a 100-level student of the Dept of Medicine and Surgery, for instance, said, “The learning environment is good, some people call it world class – comfortable classroom, well equipped laboratories, excellent hostels. No student could have asked for more”.
Ekendi, a 300-level student of Chemical Engineering and President of Students Representative Council (SRC) for 2018/2019 Academic Session, said, “I am not disappointed with what I have seen. We have electronic classrooms which ultimately enhance learning. These are classrooms with smart boards and unlike the ones I was familiar with. When I was in the polytechnic, teachers will sell handouts to students. Here we have thousands of books you might need online (e-copies) which you can access any day, anytime. You get lecture materials on Canvas Learning Management System.”
On his part, Obobo Ogene, a 200-level student of Chemical Engineering, said, “Sometimes when you hear that an institution is world class, you think it is only in name. In Edo University, being a world class in not only in name, it is in everything that happens. This institution is world class in terms of the quality education and in terms of the entire environment”.
Prof Emmanuel Aluyor is the Vice Chancellor of this enterprising university. It is to the credit of this Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (FNSE) that, through hard work, creativity and ingenuity, EUI has succeeded in proving its mettle in only three years.
“Edo University goal has been to aim at global standards and not necessarily Nigerian standards, and that is what we have been doing in all ramifications”, he told Sunday Vanguard.