Experts converge on Tech-U for capacity building workshop

Experts from frontline universities in Nigeria, Europe and West Africa are currently at the First Technical University, Ibadan, for a four-day workshop designed to build capacity for sustainable development.

Among the leading resource persons are the pioneer vice chancellor of Tech-U, Professor Ayobami Salami; Professor Jurgen Runge from the Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany, and Professor Kankoenandja Laidja from the University of Kara, Togo.

With the theme ‘Harmonising the Curriculum on the International Master in Sustainable Environmental Management (IMSEM) in Togo and Nigeria’, the workshop is taking place under the auspices of the International SDG Network Promoting Higher Education and Research in Togo and Nigeria (TONI), in collaboration with the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (German Academic Exchange Service).

It is a tripartite partnership between the First Technical University, Ibadan (with the Institute for Sustainable Development as the host academic unit in Nigeria); Goethe University, Frankfurt (with the Institute of Physical Geography and the ZIAF as the coordinating centre); and the University of Kara.

In his welcome address, Professor Salami, who is the Team Lead, said the focus of the project is “capacity building for sustainable development through north-south and south-south collaboration among higher institutions of learning in Africa and Europe.”

He recalled that the project started in April/May 2023, there had been series of activities, discussions, curriculum development and academic exchanges.

“Noteworthy are the three-day kick-off workshop at the University of Kara, Togo in May, 2023 and internship by German students in Togo and Nigeria in October/November, 2023,” he noted.

According to him, later this year, three students each from Tech-U and Kara will undertake a two-month internship in Germany; in 2025, six students from Tech-U will undertake a similar visit to Kara for four weeks, while six students from Kara will spend a month at Tech-U.

He said further of the project: “The approach is to evolve a framework that positively impact higher education in Nigeria, Togo and Germany.

“The incorporation of sustainability practices and principles in the national higher education curriculum, regardless of the discipline, and development of curricula in different fields of sustainable development will provide the needed consciousness in the population and the critical mass of local expertise required for generation of knowledge, advocacy, policy formulation and development as well as implementation of action plans geared towards expediting achievement of SDGs.

“In her mission to make significant contributions towards addressing several developmental challenges that exacerbate socio-economic inequalities and environmental degradation in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa, the Institute for Sustainable Development (I4SD), First Technical University, is strategically positioned to foster discussions and evolve the framework required to generate knowledge and develop human capacity that provide evidence-based solutions and innovations to support the progress of achieving SDGs.”

Salami acknowledged the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), as well as Togo and Nigeria SDG partnerships 2023-2026 for the support provided for the project and choosing to hold the 2024 DAAD-TONI workshop at Tech-U.

He also appreciated the vice chancellor of Tech-U and the university management for the support provided to host the workshop.

Vice chancellor of Tech-U, who is the host, Professor Adesola Ajayi, in his short remarks underscored the importance, indeed the necessity, of lecturers and other staff at Tech-U to learn other international languages like French and German.

Professor Adesola, who studied in Germany and speaks German fluently, revealed in an interview at the end of the programme the efforts he had been making to expand his language bank.

He said, “I understand German because I studied in Germany. I am learning French now on my own. I enjoin everyone to learn more. This is the essence of our Institute of Languages and General Studies.

“At Tech-U, French is a compulsory course because we are preparing our students for wider opportunities. That is why at graduation, as you get your BSc, you also receive a Diploma Certificate in French and another one in Entrepreneurship.”

According to him, ability to speak other international languages facilitates collaboration and provides access to greater opportunities.


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