By Sam Otti
The President, Association of African Universities (AAU), Prof Olusola Oyewole, has stated the need for regular review of curriculum in African universities to meet up with global pace. He said the society was changing rapidly, such that universities that neglect updating their academic content could be relegated to the backstage.
Prof Oyewole, who is also the Vice-Chancellor, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), stressed the need to move beyond working with only course synopses, to becoming student-friendly in teaching methodology. He charged academic heads of departments in universities to embrace constructive change that would re-position institutions of higher learning.
“The curricula review we had less than two years ago has called for another review, so it behooves on us to always review our curricula, if we desire to move at the global pace and compete favourably with our peers in other climes,” he said.
Speaking during the two-day capacity building workshop for Heads of Academic Departments in the university, which was aimed at strengthening and empowering the administration of the various academic departments, the Vice-Chancellor recalled that FUNAAB organised a similar workshop recently, where academic heads of departments compared notes on how to achieve best standards.
Oyewole said FUNAAB has benefitted from the collaboration with notable institutions and organisations in enthroning quality assurance in higher education.
Oyewole expressed his commitment to make the university a model in building human capacity and exemplary academic leadership. He said FUNAAB would continue to maintain high standards, achieve international presence, excellent delivery of learning, research and virile community engagements.
Delivering a paper titled, Academic Ethics: Rules And Regulation, Prof Chryss Onwuka, a former Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), stressed the need for ethics, honesty, integrity in academics. According to him, there should be no half measures, or any excuse of Nigerian or African redefinition of ethics or integrity, especially in ivory towers. He urged lecturers to live above board and never to mistreat, belittle, harm or take unfair advantage of anyone. He warned that plagiarism, lying, deliberate misrepresentation, theft, scientific fraud, cheating, among other bad behaviours, should not be tolerated in an academic environment.
In her lecture titled, Leadership and Management of Academic Departments, Prof Morenike Dipeolu stated that the prime role of the Head of Department (HoD), was to provide strong academic leadership to the department, stressing that he/she was required to lead, manage as well as develop the department. According to her, the HOD’s roles include the administration of the department, financial management as well as ensuring the best possible student experience through the fulfillment of the university’s aspirations.
Also speaking, the Director of Academic Planning, Prof Olukayode Akinyemi, said the university has continued to enjoy high rating of its academic programmes. In his lecture titled, Programme Evaluation, Procedure and Criteria-Case Study of FUNAAB, he noted that as at October 2015, 22 programmes, out of 28 offered in the university, had full accreditation, while five had an interim accreditation status.