African Universities urged to adopt ‘tripartite mission concept’

Emeritus Professor Pai Obanya of the Institute of Education, University of Ibadan, Nigeria, has said for African Universities to achieve academic excellence to meet global demand, they must adopt the ‘tripartite mission concept.’

He said academic excellence tripod could be achieved through the emerging paradigm of the triple mission of knowledge; knowledge generation, knowledge transmission and knowledge sharing.

Speaking at a public lecture at the University of Cape Coast on the theme: “Exploring the Academic Excellence Tripod,” Prof. Obanya tasked African universities to also develop both implicit and explicit curricula for a wider array of possibilities to effect total knowledge in teaching and learning.

The lecture organised by the College of Education Studies was attended by students and a cross-section of the academia.

The Emeritus Professor said institutions of higher learning needed to entrench academic excellence through multi-dimensional approach; based on systematic, continuous and career-long education.
The Tripartite Mission of Universities was a concept that sought to clarify what African universities

should exist for, and the development-oriented tasks they must pursue, as they struggled to fit into the global league of fountains of knowledge, while at the same time being service-intensive to their local environment.

Looking critically at the mission of tertiary education in this contemporary time, Prof Obanya, who is the immediate past Chairman of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), said universities must incorporate this strategy to enhance their relevance, and produce high-level manpower that could not solve societal challenges.

The ace academician, known as the ‘Grand Sage of Education in Africa,’ further implored the universities to use the consummate researcher functions in a participatory manner, involving the researcher and the researched to address the needs of society.

Prof Obanya opined that universities had been employing individualistic research methodologies, especially in asking students to select research topics on their own without recourse to societal needs.

In his view, this was wrong because according to him, the universities must use strategic institutional agenda to engage and research into the immediate needs of the communities in which they were located and the society at large.

He bemoaned that in our part of the world people equated total learning to success in examination, saying “learning goes beyond mere success in examination.”

“Successful learning is a lot more than exam success, and this involves incorporating life-long and life-wide skills to ensure total learning,” he observed.

Professor Obanya said Africans, though observed culture that much, it should not be a barrier to new learning and thinking outside the box.

Culture, he indicated, was dynamic, and urged both teachers and students to endeavor to break certain cultural and traditional myths to improve research procedures.

He called for creativity among the university fraternity through what he called ‘transformational pedagogy’ for effective teaching and learning.

This, Professor Obanya said, must involve the application of both physical and mental activities to improve interest in continuous learning, adding that “For learning to be effective, teachers must employ activity-based methods.”

One critical area that teachers needed to address further was the psycho-social needs of students, and not consider them as mere statistics.

According to him, students had so many personal and social problems which sometimes took their conscience off their academic work, and therefore urged teachers to have the interest of students at heart to help promote effective teaching and learning.

Prof Joseph Ghartey Ampiah, Acting Provost of the College of Education Studies of the University of Cape Coast, who chaired the function, was full of praise for the guest speaker, and urged him to constantly visit the university to share his vast educational expertise with Ghana.

He challenged both teachers and students to imbibe and inculcate the triple mission of knowledge in their academic pursuit, to influence society positively. GNA

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