14 December 2017

Nigerian Universities Need Critical Thinkers, Says U.S. Don

Warri — President, Reinhardt University, Waleska, Georgia, Prof. Kina S. Mallard has posited that for the nation's universities to become global centres of excellence, they must imbibe the 21st century teaching and learning methods and collaboratively solve problems through critical thinking.

Mallard who stated this at the 2nd distinguished lecture of the Edwin Clark University, Kiagbodo, Delta state, advocated a research-based and thorough review of the curriculum, if Nigerian universities must become centres of academic excellence.

In her lecture titled, "Workforce training and developmental needs of the 21st century: The role of private universities", Mallard opined that the university that can rise to the challenge of educating students for the 21st century is one that embraces the need for depth in education.

She said: "We may agree colleges and universities must bridge the gap between the 20th 21st century teaching and learning. However, agreement is not enough to actually transform education; to meet the needs of our students, we must change and tackle head-on the "how" question. 'How do we bridge the gap and remain relevant to the needs of current students and the current workforce?'

As a way out, the university teacher noted that colleges and universities must look at their organisational structure.

" Is your university organised to model the skills I have been describing? Are faculty and staff collaboratively solving problems through critical thinking, analytic reasoning, creativity, and effective communication? Do their students see them in discussions with other disciplines? Are they travelling globally or finding other ways to stay culturally informed? Do the faculty and staff adapt easily and embrace change? Do they model ethics of good work behaviour - avoiding class cancellations, keeping the class focused and on task, not requiring unnecessary financial commitments such as textbooks that aren't used?

"Are their thoughts, words and actions respectful of students, colleagues and administrators? Does the overall structure encourage cross-disciplinary dialogue and accountability of colleagues? If faculty and staff are not competent and ethical role models, colleges and universities cannot transform students into a competent and ethical workforce and good citizens of the world."

The Vice chancellor, Prof T. O. Olagbemiro said the institution signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Reinhardt University to provide reasonable cooperation in a variety of joint academic and educational activities.

The move, he said is to enhance the capacity of both universities to carry out research and secure the required external funding for same purpose.


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