The Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo, on Tuesday, officially commenced lecture on the teaching and learning of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education using the home-grown mechanism that factor in African cultural contexts and humour.
The lecture was declared open by the Vice-Chancellor of the university, Professor Olanrewaju Fagbohun with the Director of the Africa Centre of Excellence for Innovative and Transformative STEM Education (ACEITSE), which is handling the programme, Professor Peter Okebukola, taking the first lecture on “Overview of the growth and future of STEM and STEM education from course titled, “ACE 812 Trends in STEM Education” shortly thereafter.
A total of 15 pioneer students comprising 10 masters and five doctoral students from across Nigeria were in attendance while many more from Ghana, Benin Republic, Ivory Coast, Togo and Gambia and other West African countries are expected to join in February.
In his remarks at a brief ceremony, LASU VC said he was happy to see the centre officially kick-start the lecture, tasking students to ensure they focus and do well on their studies.
He said they should bear it in mind that they were being trained to become great teachers in their respective disciplines with a view to producing college with knowledge and skills that would help transform the social-economic narrative of Africa from poor to a wealthy continent.
According to him, it is a lack of innovation and creativity that puts many African countries perpetually behind the developed countries in the comity of nations hence, the purpose of this training to break the jinx.
While congratulating the director of the centre and his team for the programme more so that he is still the vice-chancellor of LASU, he promised that the university would give the centre necessary support.
Speaking earlier, the director of the centre, Prof Okebukola, who is a former executive secretary of National Universities Commission (NUC), said the centre was being funded by the World Bank and it would do that only for four years, which is 2023 as the project had started in 2019.
He re-emphasised that the overall aim of the centre was to produce graduates that would teach science subjects in schools by using indigenous mechanisms that would help address the regional developmental challenges confronting African countries.
Naming the home-grown techniques as “Culturo-Techno-Contextual Approach (CTCA),” Okebukola said the innovation, which covers three segments- culture, technology and context, took him and his team 15 years to develop.
He said research had shown that students using cultural contexts as relating to their immediate environment while teaching them are more creative to do greater things that can help move the society forward faster and better.
While noting that students of the centre who also do short course immersion programme in French and English languages for easy communication, he said the university was expected to carry on with the funding of the centre after four years.