21 July 2009

Nigeria: Ibadan Varsity Gets $900,000 Foreign Grant

Ibadan — Authorities of the University of Ibadan (UI), led by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Olufemi Bamiro again rolled out the drums to celebrate another foreign grant from the stable of the MacArthur Foundation to run to a new masters programme in Development Practice.

Bamiro, who announced this at an interactive session with newsmen in Ibadan , said over 70 universities around the contested for the $900, 000 USD (N108 million) grant, from which the university emerged among the top 10.

He said the institution was the only Nigerian university and one of the three from the continent among the winners, with three others from the United States of America and one each from Europe, Australia, India and China and each participating institution was expected to produce 750 graduates by 2012, adding that the grant was designed to provide a global classroom where all the universities involved would be linked to receive lectures simultaneously.

He however expressed fear that the erratic power supply might blur the vision of the foundation and stretch the finance of the institution to cope with the demand of linking its classrooms with those of other 69 beneficiaries of the grant, adding that uninterrupted power supply was necessary to enable all the beneficiaries to operate a global classroom.

He said the university had procured two giant generating sets worth N250 million to provide alternative power supply.

Bamiro said the university would consider the use of solar energy to boost its power supply, adding that regular power supply would help to ensure the success of the programme. "The more we can depend on solar system, the less we shall be depending on Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) and generating sets. The end result is unhindered power supply to run our programmes so that the Mc Arthur masters programme will be a success."

He also urged the federal government to put in place a long term plan that would see the country using nuclear technology for power supply,this he said could become a reality within the next 10 years, if government was serious about it.

According to him, the new programme would provide a broad-based postgraduate training for a new generation and development experts, as well as an avenue for advanced interdisciplinary training and education in sustainable development practice for Sub-Saharan Africa.

"It is designed to provide graduates with training beyond the typical focus on classroom study of economics and management found in most development studies. The programme's core curriculum bridges the natural sciences, health sciences, social sciences and management."

As against the conventional courses, Bamiro said the new programme would combine classroom study with field experiences in a range of disciplines including Agriculture, Policy, Health, Engineering, Management, Environmental sciences, Education and Nutrition "to produce all-round development practitioners and policy advisors who will form the core of the next generation of critically needed professionals."

He said the institution had concluded arrangement to partner with University of Columbia , African Development Bank, Development Policy Centre (DPC) and other institutions in the country on the implementation of the new programme to ensure quality delivery.

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