Augustine Okezie, Abuja
The National Universities Commission (NUC) has adopted pedagogical training as an alternative to postgraduate diploma in education (PGDE) for academics with PhDs.
Director of Research, Innovation and Information Technology in NUC, Suleiman Ramon-Yusuf, who made the above disclosure in Abuja at the end of a weeklong training for lecturers on pedagogical skills, jointly organised by NUC and Nile University in collaboration with University of Sussex in the United Kingdom, said NUC does not believe university professors needed to acquire PGDE to be good lecturers, adding that though some opinion leaders have tried to force PGDE on the Nigerian University System (NUS), NUC has adopted Pedagogical training as an alternative route to PGDE.
He said “We are proposing that yes it is important to have pedagogical training but it does not have to be at the level of the PGDE because they are different ways, such as what we are doing now, to approach this training in modular format so that there is continuous improvement in the competencies of our lecturers.’’
“Now, this course which we have organised as NUC in collaboration with the University of Sussex is part of a long process through which we hope to incrementally improve the standard of teaching and learning in Nigeria.’’
“At NUC we believe that the modular approach to faculty development through pedagogical training is a more realistic approach given the fact that many academics have resisted suggestion that they needed to acquire the PGDE to be considered as effective lecturers,” he said. The NUC director further maintained that over 80 lecturers took part in the weeklong course, adding that the training was one of the series of steps taken by the commission to ensure that over time; more Nigerian lectures are exposed to the modern method of teaching in line with global best practices.
Also speaking, the University of Sussex Director of International Recruitment and Development, Prof Richard Follet, described the training as absolutely astounding by the quality of participants who engaged in everything that was done. Follet said the training was a new venture between University of Sussex and NUC, working with different universities, adding that in the past, the research centre at the University Of Sussex Centre Of International Education historically carried out a lot of research in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa. “We were encouraged by the NUC to share some of the pedagogy and practice that we use, what we have also enjoyed from the session is that we’ve had the pedagogy and practice from the Nigerian lecturers shared with us.
“So we go home knowing a lot more about higher education in Nigeria and ideas about how we can teach and we hope that we’ve also shared the same with colleagues who we participated in the course,” he said. One of the participants, Prof Denis Aribodo, a professor of Public Health Parasitological, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, expressed confidence that Nigerian lecturers who have been doing very well, will do better with this new method. Aribodo said when fully applied, the pedagogical skills learned at the training will not only make Nigerian lecturers better, but also benefit Nigerian students and make them better graduates, which will translate to a better Nigerian society.
Another participant, Dr Musa Bawa, from Ibrahim Babangida University, Lapai, described the pedagogical method learned at the training as a very good one as it is a modern approach. Bawa noted that the traditional approach was teacher-centred where the teacher dominates the class, does most of the things, leaving out the students, but here the students are guided through to discover the facts themselves.
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