Universities Must Bridge Innovation Skill Gap- Faborode
For developing nations to become competitive in the global economy, they must harness and utilize science and technological innovations through their Higher Education and research institutions. This was the submission of Professor Michael Faborode while delivering the convocation lecture of the Federal University of Technology Akure on Friday March 17,2017.Faborode, who is the Secretary General of the Association of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (AVCNU) spoke on the topic: “Scholarship, globalization and Underdevelopment: Wither Universities of Technology”. He said African Universities must put in place policies, structures, and processes for effective technology transfer. He stressed the need for Universities to lead the drive to bridge the innovation skills gap. He 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.
The lecturer stated that universities must re- strategize for the future using strategic thinking. 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. He proposed that in the University setting, 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 that they be accorded needed recognition in order for these higher education institutions to fulfill their mandate of turning the sub region into a technologically driven hub for national development.
According to the Don, universities generally and universities of technology in particular, which have the research and innovation function as their hallmark and most distinguishing feature , require specialized/ independent structures that should not impair their basic academic, research and development functions. Professor Faborode stated that the establishment of the technological universities was consistent with Nigeria’s quest for industrialization and technological emancipation. He said such universities were to be the innovation hubs for national development and hot beds of creativity, spinning off businesses and enterprises. The lecturer, a former Vice Chancellor of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, decried the challenges of national development and the decline of Nigerian Universities. He highlighted that the increased pressure on learning facilities, complicating maintenance issues, gross under funding are indications of a badly managed and plundered mono- commodity economy and a degraded higher education system.
The lecturer described FUTA as robust university of technology that has come of age with the potential of a future of stupendous knowledge and research led innovation, accomplishments, wealth creation and nation building. He commended the institution for its strong town and gown engagement and was optimistic that this would be sustained and made more productive and beneficial to the communities in Akure and its environs.
Speaking at the occasion, Vice chancellor Professor Adebiyi Daramola commended the lecturer for the beautiful delivery of the lecture. He described Faborode as an erudite administrator and a brilliant scholar of no mean repute. He said the theme of the lecture was apt and the points raised pertinent to societal growth.