By Gabriel Dike
One of the nation’s foremost philosophy lecturers in the Nigerian university system (NUS) and former head of Philosophy Department, University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka, Prof. Jim Unah, has called for the inclusion of philosophy and ethnics in primary and secondary school curricula.
To achieve this, Prof. Unah want policymakers and stakeholders to review the current curriculum to accommodate the teaching of philosophy and ethics in primary and secondary schools in the country.
Prof. Unah made the recommendation at the Faculty of Arts Distinguished Professor Lecturer Series, titled “Is it leadership or character?” The lecture attracted senior UNILAG academics and non-academic staff, while the vice-chancellor was represented by the Deputy VC (academic and research), Prof. Oluwole Familoni.
He noted that: “My main research focus in the next few years is to work with all relevant stakeholders to introduce the teaching of ethics, character and creative thinking to the primary and secondary schools in Nigeria.
“Carry philosophy to industry and, possible, to every home as a way of getting it to impact lives in the positive direction, and thus help stem the tide of the erosion of morals and values which has assumed epidemic proportion in the country.’’
The former Deputy VC (academics) University of Sao Tome Principle, Gulf of Guinea, said the introduction of virtue ethics inclusive of creative, logical critical thinking that promote sound moral character, into school curriculums, should become an imperative and a UNESCO benchmark for developing African societies.
“It is envisaged that the reworking of school curriculums to incorporate the teaching of philosophy and ethics focused on cognitive debriefing through creative and logical thinking and strong ethical values will midwife the emergence of African youths with knowledge capacity and moral stamina to break the jink of irresponsible leadership.’’
He appealed to stakeholders and UNILAG to lead the nation in the propagation and promotion of the teaching of character and creative thinking principles to Nigerian pupils and students at the pre-tertiary level of education.
His words: ‘’This is envisaged to prepare and fortify them ethically for tertiary education and the world of work. It will also help to boost the entrepreneurship education programme which UNILAG has begun to pioneer to give concrete future of human flourishing to our graduates.
According to him, emphasis of training is on acquiring practical skills or special competencies for problems-solving. Unah said unfortunately, of all the things that training purports to be targeted, leadership does not appear to be one of them.
The former HOD acknowledged that training and education can be disseminated to the same persons or group of persons, especially where specific skills and broad general knowledge are required for effective and efficient productivity and performance.
He asked: ‘’Why is that what is expected of leaders is not often realized if leadership training and leadership education have been properly imparted and transmitted? What kind of training and education are leaders receiving?
“It seems out of character to suppose that the schools are not dispensing the kind of leadership knowledge they claim to be offering, seeing the long and impressive list of courses paraded in modern leadership and management science faculties of prestigious institutions of higher learning all over the world,” Unah observed.
The Dean, Faculty of Arts, Prof. Olufunke Adeboye said the lecture is the continuation of the faculty intellectual tradition and described the topic as an important issue to Nigeria.
In his remarks, Prof. Familoni said distinguished professor is conferred on the best that must have been a professor for over 15 years and produced 10 PhDs.
Familoni stressed that UNILAG has produced many vice chancellors for other institutions, adding ‘’we have several professors we can loan to other universities.”