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‘Research, innovative learning key to global competitiveness’

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Associate pro-vice-chancellor international, Aston University, Birmingham, United Kingdom (UK), Kathy Daniels, has stated that for institutions to make a global impact that would translate to solving real-life problems, it must show great commitment to research, creativity and innovative learning.

Daniels who was in Lagos recently highlighted that engaging learners in an exchange programme and allowing them to network and share ideas with their peers across the globe has numerous advantages that will benefit mankind.

She said as the world is evolving rapidly with high technological advancement, the university is not relenting in helping students hone their skills professionally by engaging them with employers and other industry partners across the globe.

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She said the institution is doing a lot of research in the areas of artificial intelligence, medicine, engineering, pharmacy among others, adding that Nigeria students would surely benefit enormously from their endeavours.

She also highlighted the need for universities to bridge the divide between them and industries, hinting that it is one sure way of addressing the narratives surrounding graduates, skills and employability.

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Daniels who is responsible for the recruitment of international students and strategy development, further stated that doing so would help in identifying those skills required by industries from university graduates, thus nipping the issue of unemployment in the bud.

She said the school is committed to helping students obtain the advantage of university education, through robust teaching, research and exchange programmes.

She said: “Aston University is committed to advancing, disseminating and applying learning and knowledge by teaching and research for the benefit of industry and of the community generally. Over the years, we have produced graduates that are meeting the aspirations and expectations of industries across the globe. One of the things we do is working closely with the industry. Employers also give our students the opportunity to practice the skills they have learned. We are already discussing with some Nigerian universities to collaborate and engage in students exchange programmes.

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“In today’s business world, understanding just one country is not enough, we encourage our UK students to think globally and go for exchange programmes if they have the opportunity. So, Nigerians coming to Aston University will be of immense benefit, because when they return, they will come back with new thinking and ideas. It is all about having a broader knowledge and exposure to new innovations.”

Noting that the British Government has proposed a two-year work permit for foreigners who graduate from British universities, she hinted that it would further boost the Aston global advantage programme of her university.

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“Through our Aston global advantage programme, we place our students on an internship with businesses to develop necessary skills. We pioneered the placement plan where our students go on attachment in industries. They can also go and study abroad because we have strong ties with universities in the United States, Germany and South Africa among others.

“We also help our students to set up their own businesses. They engage in business simulations and are guided by our team of experts. Our students have work opportunities because we prepare them for that, to be entrepreneurs and to also have the required skills to fit into today’s global market,” she stressed.

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On the benefits of studying at Aston University, Daniels said the fees were competitive and the cost of living generally in Birmingham was lower than London and some other towns.

On issue of racism, she explained that British students are accommodating and tolerant. “We don’t have a problem with racism, we have hundreds of nationalities in our school. I am not saying racism never occurs, what I’m saying is we have a very welcoming and tolerating students.

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