Until Africa realizes that innovation and entrepreneurship are essential to the development of the continent, we will continue to remain at the mercy of the Western world. According to 7mindsets.com, todayCollege students are groomed for jobs that probably don’t exist. It is therefore imperative for us to create autonomous and autonomous learners.
A true 21st century school is one that ensures its students master the 4Cs: critical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration. However, this means that the way we approach teaching and learning in our schools must change. It is in light of this that Wellspring University in Edo State, Nigeria has emerged to change the narrative, championing change in the education sector in Africa.
Professor Isaac Rotimi Ajayi, Vice-Chancellor of the University, says the prosperity and wealth of nations is largely based on innovation and entrepreneurship. While many universities in the western world are leading in this direction, Nigerian universities are still lagging behind. Professor Isaac Ajayi, current Vice Chancellor of WellSpring University, Edo State, shares his thoughts on the way forward for the education sector in the country.
Ajayi, with over thirty years of experience in academia, as a teacher, researcher and administrator, says he has visited and worked at several world-class and top-notch universities in the United States and across Europe. He notes that his travels have exposed him to the many ground-breaking works being done at these institutions. He explained that when juxtaposed with the situation in Nigeria, it is evident that the unfortunate state of our higher education, especially with regard to the shortage of commercial research, places the country far from the digital age.
“To the glory of God, I am a strong advocate for innovation in universities. I have been involved in innovation, especially in foreign universities, and participated in collaborative research in Italy and Germany. I am still actively involved in collaborative work with some of them. As Vice-Chancellor, I am very committed to Wellspring University’s vision for innovation and entrepreneurship.
Explaining what innovation is, Ajayi said that innovation is responsible for the prosperity and wealth of nations and the transformation of underdeveloped nations into developed and advanced nations. “In a rapidly changing, knowledge-driven world, the global economic landscape has become increasingly competitive. Only nations that commit to embracing entrepreneurship through innovative ideas will remain relevant in today’s global economy.
From the industrial revolution of the 1800s to todayof the digital revolution, innovation has been the engine of economic growth and development. Evidence from developed economies shows that universities are the engine of national development as they drive innovation, provide quality human capital and influence democratic development, etc.
On how he views the education sector in Nigeria, the innovation advocate says the overall state of education in Nigeria today is cause for concern for all well-meaning Nigerians because the sector has degenerated to the point of providing the solution to be part of the problem. He opined that until the university system prioritizes skills development to equip Nigerians with skills for employability through investment in key programs especially in science, technology , Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Technology, Vocational Education and Training (TVET). , the nation will not experience the desired development. He also mentioned the need to acquire digital literacy skills to boost innovation competitiveness and unlock the growth potential of various sectors.
Measuring the impact of higher education on national development, Prof. Ajayi explained that the high rate of graduate unemployment amid the growth of the higher education sector is seen by many as indicative of the failure of the sector. to fulfill its mandate. “The inability of this sector to positively impact national development is linked to factors such as insufficient funding, inadequate infrastructure, brain drain, incompetent digital learning instructors, among others.”
The Vice-Chancellor further added that the sector is also accused of putting more emphasis on paper qualification as opposed to employability skills, innovation and creativity, as well as the obvious lack of innovation. in the scarcity of scientific and technological progress. He said it is hoped that the new Nigeria Medium Term National Development Plan 2021 to 2025 will address these challenges as planned.
Why Wellspring University is being repositioned. The Vice Chancellor explained that the institution, in its 12th year, is positioning itself to be globally competitive and it is in this regard that the institution is focusing on three major pillars to achieve this goal. They include; academic knowledge, skills development and research. “Our university focuses on the production of human capital for industries and as such the academic knowledge disseminated is relevant to the upcoming contemporary changes in this field. To achieve this, we tackle two key areas, namely the program and the quality of the people delivering the program. »
Regarding skills development, the VC noted that rapid advances in technology have brought about changes in the world of work, which requires a new set of skills in addition to academic knowledge. He said Wellspring is working diligently to bridge the global skills gap through the establishment of its well-equipped Innovation Lab and Center for Entrepreneurship. “The goal of the WellSpring University Innovation Lab is to foster technology transfer, learning and research. The faculty members here are a mix of industry experts and academics. He noted. He added that the innovation center hopes to establish deep relationships with various private sector industries with a mix of hybrids that will allow the lab to have a rich pool of professors from around the world.
Beyond the academics, the University, founded on biblical principles, has not failed to inculcate Christian principles and ethics in the learning experience of the student community. Ajayi speaking says, “The founders of our noble institution have a very strong faith in the principle of our Lord Jesus Christ and as such believe that when students are initiated into godly and wholesome Christian principles, they have a way to influence in them positive values of life. expected of any good citizen in any society.
Furthermore, Prof. Ajayi, says Wellspring University also goes beyond the walls in leading thought leadership in Nigeria and the African continent. He hopes this will be achieved through the Wellspring School of Leadership, Policy and Governance, in partnership with the African Leadership Group. And as such being able to develop and educate thought leaders capable of transforming society.