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English spoken by graduates calls for concern — TASUED VC

English spoken by graduates calls for concern — TASUED VC

Vice-Chancellor, Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijagun, Ogun State, Prof. Oluyemisi Obilade

Newly appointed Vice-Chancellor, Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijagun, Ogun State, Prof. Oluyemisi Obilade spoke with journalists on her plans for the institution. SEGUN OLATUNJI was there

How will you react to the allegation that Tai Solarin University of Education has deviated from its focus of training the trainers by running courses outside education discipline?

Running courses outside education depends on the way we package the programmes. As a university of education, we have the responsibility of training people who train others at every area of education but it must be related to the process of knowledge production and dissemination.

Training teachers is not only for secondary schools. I trained as an adult educator; I am a professor of adult education and women studies. The beauty of knowledge is the application of that knowledge; therefore, when I go to ante-natal or child welfare clinics to teach on issues of gender-based violence, I am teaching but I am not teaching at nursery, primary or secondary schools.

If we limit it to that, that is a pedestrian way of looking at the field of education; it’s a very wide field and so we should equip nurses who teach in community education, community nursing and medicine units with the necessary pedagogical skills to be able to teach.

Not everybody can teach; you might have the content knowledge but you might not have the capacity to pass the message across. That is why some people will go to school and will not remember what they were taught, but they will not be able to forget what another teacher taught them outside school.

What is your vision for the university?

We want to take this university to the level of global excellence as an institution where knowledge production takes pre-eminence and precedence. The product and staff of the university are not local products, we are global products. We should be able to fit in anywhere in the world and not feel inferior.

I’ve never felt inferior to any of my colleagues anywhere in the world when we interact. We may not have a lot of the facilities but we have the human capacity and as Nigerians, we have a lot of knowledge and drive to succeed and so when we go out there, we compete with the best.

We want to move to a level where we will build the capacity of our staff through exchange programmes, conferences, seminars, workshops and post graduate training in such a way that they will interact with people from across the globe and will put the name of this university on the global map.

What plan do you have for the development of exchange programmes with other institutions?

We are thinking of improving and opening up linkages for other institutions. We would like our students to exchange visits and have short interactions so that they would have a global perspective of what total holistic education is all about. We are not breeding local champions; we are breeding global champions. People should be able to come here from all over the world to study. We have the dream of replicating some of the things that happen all over the world where you have students from all over the world coming to study.

I visited the University of Legon as an external examiner and during the summer vacation, you see a lot of people from all over the world coming to study there. We want them to come to TASUED to study too. If you want to know about anything that is going on in the education world, come to TASUED. Our plan is to make the institution a one-stop-shop for every manner of knowledge production and knowledge dissemination in the area of education.

We want to encourage publications because those are the things that increase the rating for our academic staff. When you Google TASUED, you’ll be able to see the long list of what we have been able to do.

Your programme will involve huge financial commitment…

We want to raise our Internally Generated Revenue to a level where it would support our dreams and aspirations because we need recourses to drive this vision and we are looking at IGR. We have looked into many areas of IGR and we are working on them.

Do you believe that the standard of education in Nigeria is falling and what advice can you offer the government on how to check this unfortunate trend?

Yes, the standard of education is falling in the country. I say it is falling because my first degree was in Education English/History and the sort of spoken English that I hear from people who have purportedly gone to the university calls for concern.

If you can’t express yourself very well in simple English language, how do you want to convince me that you understand what is going on in your environment?

Again, you find a lot of people who graduated from our secondary schools who are not able to write simple English. There was a young girl that once lived with me, she was supposed to go into JSSIII, as we were going to her new school, I said, "Write your name and the name of your former school.” She could only write her name. As a teacher, I stopped the car and asked her to read what was written on a particular signpost. "Make your calls here,” she looked at it for a long time, then I asked, "can’t you read?” and she said she couldn’t read! I then asked her how she managed to get to JSS III. I had to first of all get a teacher for her at home before she could get registered for JSS I.

The standard is falling and that is why the rate of examination malpractice is on the increase. Pupils no longer prepare well for examinations these days and so, they engage in a lot of short-cuts.

What is the solution?

We can do that by looking at education holistically. When we fail to address the issue that over 70 per cent of Nigerians are illiterate, we’ll continue to produce illiterates. There are some people who do not know how to read and write; they do not see the benefit of education. We have not made conscious efforts to get them to open up into the wider space of the world through basic literacy and they are the parents of these children.

So, when these children come back from school, (that is if they do go to school at all), the parents don’t see any need to check the notes of their children. So, the Federal Government first of all, needs to address the issue of adult illiteracy so that parents will also understand the value of education.

We also need to provide infrastructural support. Some of the schools that are in rural areas are grossly underfunded. I undertook some studies in Nasarawa State and most of the pupils were reading under the trees. Many do not have teachers; many of the teachers do not have the necessary skills and so, how do you expect these children to be fit into this century?

We will be deceiving ourselves to say that the standard is not falling; NECO and WAEC results have proven that the standard has fallen. Many of us go the extra mile to ensure that our children don’t fall far behind.

What is your advice to students in your institution?

They should make use of the opportunities provided by the school. They are blessed because out of the 9,000 candidates that applied for admission here, just about 3,000 were offered admission and those who matriculated were not up to the number offered admission.


This is because some of them did not meet up with the screening procedures. Being offered provisional admission does not preclude the fact that there are some basic things that the university demands of you and all the screening processes must be done thoroughly and you must fulfil all the requirements for being a student of TASUED before you can matriculate. So, they should make the best use of the opportunity because it may never come their way again.

Category: My articles | Added by: ExcedNetwork (26-March-2013)
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