By Adesina Wahab and Elizabeth Uwandu
Former Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission, NUC, Prof. Peter Okebukola, has said the country is not making the expected progress in the area of science and technology because a number of factors are hampering the teaching of the subjects in our schools.
Okebukola, who spoke in Lagos on Tuesday during the formal take-off of the Africa Centre of Excellence for Innovative and Transformative STEM Education, ACEITSE, at the Lagos State University, LASU, listed some of the factors to include weak content knowledge, weak development of 21st Century skills and weak IT skills.
Okebukola, who is the Director of the Centre, said until those factors were tackled through innovative and transformative teaching of STEM education, the country might not be able to actualise its potentials in the areas of science and technology.
“The mission of the Centre is to promote excellence in the teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, STEM, through culturally-relevant, innovative and transformative models for addressing regional developmental challenges.
“The Centre has as mission to produce innovative and transformative teachers that will inspire learning in STEM subjects through the delivery of a range of engaging, contextual and technology-mediated teacher professional development programmes for addressing regional developmental challenges,” he said.
Okebukola said the Centre would make use of culturo-techno-contextual, CTC, approach as its central pedagogy.
He said the Centre would draw students and lecturers from within and outside the country.
The Vice-Chancellor of LASU, Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun, SAN, thanked the World Bank, NUC and the Association of African Universities for believing in LASU and approving it as one of the African Centres of Excellence.
He said the Centre would play a significant role in the developmental trajectory of Africa.
“We cannot afford to mess up the project with needless industrial action. We must focus on looking at other alternatives of amicably resolving issues so that great things like this will not collapse. We must not fail the nation and the continent,” he added.
Fagbohun expressed optimism that after the initial funding for four years by the World Bank, it would be taken over by the institution and other well-meaning bodies.
Goodwill messages were sent by the AAU Secretary-General, Prof. Etienne Ehile, the Nigeria Coordinator of World Bank ACE Projects, Dr Joshua Atah and former Head of Tertiary Education at the World Bank, Prof. Jamil Salmi.
The Centre runs postgraduate and short courses.