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Osinbajo, scholars across Africa discuss Nigeria’s educational system at IAS


Participating scholars

The Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo and scholars from different countries in Africa at the new Institute of Advanced Studies in Ile Ife, have revealed that Nigeria’s entire educational system will be re-energized when the innovative approaches that are the models for best practices for scholarship in other parts of the world are explored and adopted.

Osinbajo who was represented by Dr. Adeyemi Dipeolu, the Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters said “the establishment of the Ife Summer Institute is an exciting development. Professor Olupona’s vision of establishing an Institute of Advanced Studies here in Obafemi Awolowo University is a laudable one and … proof of a strategic mind at work.”

The inaugural Summer programme, which was also attended by dignitaries across the country like the Vice Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede, the Ooni of Ife Oba Ogunwusi, the founder of the Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) and host of others served as a platform for discussing various problems facing the educational sector in the country.

In a Communique issued at the end of the inaugural Summer Programme of the Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS), Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, the scholars said that “theorizing on African epistemologies, and applying the lessons learnt, will change the direction of public policy by ensuring that such policies are compatible with the social and political contexts in Nigeria and Africa”.

In an intensive two-week session, accomplished senior scholars from Nigerian and Western universities provided comprehensive professional training in research and teaching to junior scholars, primarily in humanities and social science academic disciplines and interdisciplinary programmes.

The participants envisioned that the new Institute for Advanced Studies would “provide access to field research, doctoral and post-doctoral funding opportunities, enable the establishment of networking and mentoring relationships among participants and faculty members, create a comprehensive database of opportunities available for scholars, in the areas of research funding, conferences, publications, grants, jobs and consultancies.”

They also highlighted the role of the IAS in “building capacity of the Fellows by funding and enabling them to attend academic conferences and thereby contribute to the future cohort of Fellows at the Institute.”

Dr. Dipeolu also added, “the Institute should in my view also be an embodiment of partnership between government, the private sector and civil society to promote research and tertiary education in the country. Town and gown must continue to be brought together for a cross-fertilization of ideas and so that academic work is enriched by empirical realities. Moreover, the private sector and philanthropic foundations have a role to play in supporting the national academic endeavor through endowments and by commissioning of research.”

OAU Vice-Chancellor Prof. Ogunbodede also underscored the remarkable vision and commitment of Professor Olupona to the advancement of the highest level of professionalism in African universities: “Each time Professor Olupona visited Nigeria, from his base at Harvard, his passion, which dominated most of his meetings and conversations with academics that share his vision, has been the need to invest in grooming a new generation of scholars. He has given this eloquent expression by establishing a unique institution that will provide an international platform for training researchers and teachers of diverse orientations in the humanities and the social sciences.”

Ogunbodede further noted: “The vision of the Institute of Advanced Study is a noble one which this university (OAU) is proud to identify with. There is growing need for scholars in the African diaspora to partner with their colleagues and institutions in Africa to revitalize scholarship and propagate the best practices and values.

“There is also a need for scholars from the developing world to prove that they are capable of creating institutions that will not only cater to the needs of their people but also serve those of scholars from other parts of the world. This institute appeals to me as one of those that will serve as a catalyst for the flow of knowledge and competencies across national and institutional borders.”, he added.

Junior scholars at the summer institute comprised of 20 pre-doctoral and post-doctoral Fellows from universities in South Africa, Rwanda, Nigeria, Kenya, United States, Germany and Uganda.

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