By Daud Adebayo
A Professor of Comparative Public Law, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Prof. Ademola O. Popoola has called for integration of African traditional values into the education system to improve the state of the Nigerian society.
Prof. Popoola made the call on Thursday while delivery the convocation lecture titled “Higher Education Nigeriana: A Journey Across Time and Space” at the combined 8th and 9th convocation ceremony of Kwara State University, Malete.
The don noted that the neglected African education system has the potential to build social responsibility, job orientation, political participation, and inculcate spiritual and moral values in students.
The consummate scholar, who noted the need to overhaul the Nigerian education curricula, emphasised that the Western education system is denying Africans access to education that grow from their environment. Prof. Popoola further submitted that Nigerian Universities are still far from achieving world class status due to problems of facilities, quality of learning and research, efficiency of governance and management, and funding.
The Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS) charged higher education institutions to intensify local and International collaboration with industry and civil society, to facilitate the development of the country.
Prof. Popoola also charged the graduating students to function as “New Nigerians” not as “deluded hybrids” or “Windsowers” of the earlier generation of educated elites.
He said “…in the old African society- Education was a means to an end and not an end itself. Emphasis was on social responsibility, job orientation, political participation, and spiritual and moral values.
“To be sure, both traditional and modern systems of education have positive and negative aspects. What is essential is to utilise what is positive when formulating a new system that will be relevant to the conditions and needs of our society. We should more assiduously integrate into our education system the spirit and values of Africa.
“The tragedy of the African education system was that it was supplanted, almost totally by the imposed Western education system. Under normal circumstances, education grows out of the environment.”
In his remarks, the Vice-Chancellor, Kwara State University, Malete, Prof. Muhammed Mustapha Akanbi (SAN) described the convocation lecturer as a great man and a living role model worthy of emulation.
Prof. Akanbi, who disclosed that Prof. Popoola is his “big brother, mentor, role model, teacher, referee, and benefactor, expressed his appreciation to the convocation lecturer for his support over the years.