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VC Explains Why Artisans Are Engaged To Lecture Students At Tech-U

Vice Chancellor of the first Technical University (Tech U), Ibadan, Professor Ayo Salami has explained why the institution engaged artisans to lecture students.
This is just as he said that “I normally say here we operate a disruptive academic model which means a model that disrupts the existing system. The existing system in conventional university is that you must be an egg head before you can function and impart knowledge and be a facilitator in the university system. But we said no, knowledge has to be all-embracing. Some people have knowledge but they don’t have the skill, some people have the skill, they don’t have the theoretical background. When you want to lift a basket with a load, you can’t lift it with one hand; you have to use the two hands. Skill and knowledge are the two hands on the basket of development in Nigeria today. It is not always that you have people that combine the two.

“Here in this university, we bring people who have the skills, they may not have the theoretical background. We bring people who have the knowledge but they may not have the practical skill, and the two of them work together to create a total graduate who can hybridize the two. Consequently, we make use of artisans. We make use of people who are technicians, people who are just technologists and academics. All of them work collaboratively to train our students so that when they go out of this university they can stand on their own. We want to produce graduates who are self-reliant, who can be productive within the economy, who will not be complaining that there is no job but can create job.”

Salami, who spoke with The Nation, also explained the major breakthroughs of the university under his leadership.

According to him, “Nobody actually heard anything about technical university before this one. It was not in existence in Nigeria until two years ago when we started here. And the idea of technical university will take some time before it percolates through the entire system. But it will interest you that in less than two years of existence, the webometric ranking has been good. They did a ranking of 252 tertiary institutions in Nigeria and they put Tech U at number 43; an institution that is less than two years old. That tells you that within a short time, we have covered a lot of ground.

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“Before now, we used to have technical colleges, but graduates of those colleges were regarded as technicians. And because of the dynamics and the peculiarity of our society, people believed they are not being well recognized. So people are no longer interested even though they are supposed to have skills. Then the polytechnics, they see themselves as graduating technologists, and they are not managers. Again, our society began to discriminate against them. Then the rush for the university. We have a situation whereby we don’t have people with the technical skills again. Those who go to the polytechnic no longer concentrate on having the wherewithal but competing with the university graduates and those who go to the university don’t have the skills; they only have the head knowledge. We now have a dysfunctional system. We now have an education system that is not meeting our needs. We have the products that cannot produce services.

“Technical university is a bold attempt to actually make sure that we fix this major challenge. Here is the only university in Nigeria where you have the convergence of the curricular of the technical colleges, the polytechnic and the universities of technology. In essence, when you are a graduate of Tech U, you have the skills that the technician has, the expertise of a technologist and you have the acumen of a manager. The aim is to produce graduates who can serve as plug-and-play both in the public and private sectors and people who can serve as major player both nationally and in the international arena.

“One thing we have done differently is that every student here is skilled in at least two vocations. We are still in the second year but if any of our students drops out of the university today, God forbid, they have a skill that will enable them to stand on their own. Nobody can drop out of Tech U and have nothing to do. Today, those 200-level students of this university can step out of the four walls of this university and survive because they have something they can live on. Many of them are already making little money while they are still our students, and you can interact with them.”
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