The 1st Inaugural Lecture of the College was successfully held on Thursday, 18th August, 2016 in accordance with the National Commission for Colleges of Education’s directive that Colleges, like Universities, should start holding Inaugural Lecture series. The epoch making event was graced by the Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE), Prof. Bappa-Aliyu Muhammad.
The Provost, Dr. Blessing Ijioma had the honour of taking the first shot and in her lecture titled “Sustaining Developments in Science and Technology Education in Nigeria through functional research,” she traced the trajectory of Science Education in our schools from the colonial era to modern times. She earmarked 1977 as a pivotal date in science education in the country with the introduction of the National Policy in Education that year, and the subsequent transformations in the curriculum and teaching of Science and Technology Education (STE).
The Lecturer worked to draw a relationship between Science and Technology Education and human needs. She said, “If the processes, products and attitudes in science as well as meaningfully engaging approaches developed by science educators are missing then Science Education is not functional.”
Dr. Ijioma revealed most of her research from over two decades of academic work, many of which have contributed in improving the yields and nutrition level of common foods. A Microbiologist, Food Scientist and Educator, the Provost illustrated functional research in Mushroom production, Soybean fufu flour, and Egusi patties all targeted towards increasing the protein content in traditional Nigerian staple.
The Lecture also revealed the role of research as a mechanism for generating feedback to governments and agencies on ways to make Science and Technology Education more effective and functional. Examples were given of research needed to appraise curriculum, emergent issues in science and technology, current teaching and learning methodologies, impact assessment of interventionist programmes and sustainability efforts.
She highlighted the many challenges facing STE, some of which include paucity of funds, poorly equipped laboratories and workshops, ill-trained science teachers lacking the requisite ICT skills, lack of a culture of hardwork, and corruption.
While making suggestions for increased funding from all stakeholders, regular capacity building of the teachers – especially in bridging the knowledge gap between teachers in urban and rural areas, curriculum review and implementation, she concluded by reiterating that “a country’s most important asset is its human capital. The role of Science and Technology in national development is well known globally and the difference between developed and developing countries is the extent to which each has deployed technology in everyday activities.”
The 1st Inaugural Lecture of the College was attended by a massive audience that filled the 1000 seater Auditorium. Some of the guests included top government functionaries, professors and members of the academia, private sector players, captains of industry, the clergy, traditional rulers, students and the general public. As tradition demands, a procession of Chief Lecturers and Heads of Departments anchored by the Executive Secretary of NCCE ushered the 1st Inaugural Lecturer into the auditorium.
The Inaugural Lecture/Public Lectures series have now become instituted as a regular feature in the College calendar. The series is designed to illuminate the academic work and research of the Chief Lecturers in the system with a view to harnessing ideas and means to shape our country and make it a better place. As Dr. Ijioma opined in her lecture, “our researchers are advised here to stay longer with the problems in their minds and laboratories until answers are discovered.” She goes on to say that when such answers are obtained they must be used to change Nigeria for the better.
She concluded by quoting Albert Einstein who said: “It is not that I am so smart, it is just that I stay with problems longer”.