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Universities must bridge innovation skill gap – Faborode


FOR developing nations to become competitive in the global economy, they must harness and utilise science and technological innovations through their higher education and research institutions.

This was the submission of the secretary-general of the Association of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (AVCNU) and former vice chancellor of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Professor Michael Faborode, while delivering the convocation lecture of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, on Friday March 17, 2017.

Faborode spoke on the topic ‘Scholarship, Globalisation and Underdevelopment: Whither Universities of Technology’.

He said African universities must put in place policies, structures, and processes for effective technology transfer, and that there is a need for universities to lead the drive to bridge the innovation skills gap.

Professor Faborode advised higher institutions to explore and exploit advances in ICT, business intelligence, leadership and planning while embracing integrated ICT solution for all university functions and mainstreaming it into governance structures.

He also called for a serious commitment to human capital development to mitigate serious deficits in the number of scientists, engineers, and high level expertise and leaders in Africa.

In the university setting, he said the vice chancellor, acting with and through the deputy vice chancellor (Research and Innovation) and the registrar must provide leadership in research management and ICT mainstreaming in line with the institution’s vision.

Faborode urged the Federal Government to adequately fund universities of technologies and ensure they are accorded the needed recognition in order for them to fulfill their mandate of turning the sub-region into a technologically- driven hub for national development.

He said that universities generally, and universities of technology in particular, which have the research and innovation function as their hallmark and most distinguishing feature, require specialised and independent structures that should not impair their basic academic, research and development functions.

He lamented the challenges of national development and the decline of Nigerian universities, noting that the increased pressure on learning facilities, complicating maintenance issues, and gross underfunding are indications of a badly managed and plundered mono-commodity economy and a degraded higher education system.

Speaking at the occasion, the vice chancellor, Professor Adebiyi Daramola, commended the lecturer for the beautiful delivery of the lecture, and described him as an erudite administrator and a brilliant scholar of no mean repute.

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