Afe Babalola urges Nigerian universities to harness use of digital technology

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Chief Afe Babalola (SAN), the Founder and the Chancellor of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), has urged Nigerian universities’ lecturers and teachers to harness the use of digital technology to improve the sector.

Babalola said this at the virtual meeting to commemorate the annual National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS) Day on Monday in Lagos.

It was reported that the theme for this year’s NAPPS Day was: “Digital Revolution As a Tool in Revamping Nigeria’s Education.”

He said that if any university wanted to attain a world class status, it is imperative that all its lecturers or teachers must go digital.

“The impact of the Coronavirus pandemic has made the digital revolution morally imperative.

“This is because going digital means that one fully understands how ones audience use computer technology to access what they need at the right time.

“This virtual meeting is timely because people around the world, regardless of their locations use: videos, audios and texts to link up on-line,”Babalola said.

According to him, I can remember very vividly that when I was growing up, there were no cars, electricity and no telephones in Ado-Ekiti.

“At school, we were using chalk and slates, while on their parts; our teachers were using chalk and blackboards.

“All of those have since changed. We can now communicate with the world right where we are seated through the instrumentalities of our handsets and computers,”Babalola said.

He said that UNESCO expected governments to spend 26 per cent of their annual budgets on education.

“This was achieved in the first republic, but when the military took over in 1966, they reduced the amount voted for education to as low as seven per cent.

“Today is much worse, lecturers and teachers go on strike for non-payment of salaries. But there are no private universities where teachers are not paid regularly.

“I want to thank all proprietors of private schools for their patriotism in establishing schools with their hard earned money Babalola said.

Mr. Yomi Otubela, the National President of NAPPS, said that the theme was appropriate as it gives an insight into the plethora of challenges school owners had to confront in the past months.

Otubela said that this year had been unusually challenging for school owners and individuals as a result of the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic which unfortunately led to the closure of schools.

“It was even reported that over 1.2 billion children worldwide were out of the classrooms in the wake of the pandemic.

“The situation eventually gave rise to the digital revolution through remote learning as the alternative means of teaching and learning.

“Therefore, the reality of the abrupt closure of schools and the sudden break in the economic cycle of private schools due to the present COVID- 19 pandemic is rather challenging for our members.

“Up till this moment, our members are still struggling to overcome the impact of the pandemic, “he said.

Otubela said that NAPPS in its efforts to ensure that the interests of its members were safeguarded in the equation of things in the country set the ball rolling by making several moves through letters, virtual engagements to the governments and agencies

“We push for palliatives to cushion the effects of the pandemic on members.

“I appeal to our member to remain calm and be strategic in their decision making, they should attend to their health regularly and always seek medical attention, “he said.