LASU Centre Of Excellence Set To Strengthen Africa’s Economy, Says VC

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……At Commencement Lecture

The Lagos State University Africa Centre of Excellence for Innovative and Transformative STEM education (ACEITSE) today commence lecture with pioneer students for different programmes at the centre.

It should be recalled that in 2018, the World Bank named Lagos State University as one of only 10 Africa Centre of Excellence in Nigeria, for that year.

After months of activities in the background, the Centre, located opposite the Faculty of Management Sciences on the Main Campus, under the leadership of renowned Science Educator, Distinguished Prof. Peter Okebukola, opened its doors to the university Community and members of the press and pioneer for its commencement lecture.

Declaring the lecture open, the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun SAN, said the commencement of lecture at the centre is significant not only in the life of the University and Nigeria but the developmental trajectory of Africa.

“When you look at the narrative of Science in Africa, you will see that one of the reasons why the Continent continues to grapple with development is because the base for research and innovation is weak; it’s because Africa is still lacking that economic strength. It is your innovation that you commercialize which will in turn fetch you economic power. The significance of the event of today must not be lost on us.”

Commending the leadership of the centre, the VC said with the commencement lecture, it has shown that distinguished Prof. Okebukola has the capacity and the wherewithal to put together all that are seeing today, “which has brought all the leaders of our university together. He is a great mind. I am not the Messiah, like people will say; these leaders of our institution seated here are the ones who make what you are seeing possible. All these achievements are made possible by the great minds here. I thank the World Bank AAU and NUC for believing in LASU. We will not fail you and we will make Africa proud in the way we discharge our responsibilities.”

Introducing, the pioneer students of the centre, Prof. Fagbohun described them as the people that the university and Nigeria are selling to the world.

“You are the brain that we are expecting will go out there and change the mindset of people. Don’t look at yourselves as minions; you will compete with anybody from Ivy-League institutions. You will be great, you will be better than all of us. I thank you for making yourselves available, making yourselves ready. You are the flag bearers of the Africa that we desire in terms of innovation,”  he said.

He urged them to aspire for the best adding; “when you remember these great minds that have come to watch you today, always remember that you have the I can do Spirit.

“Three things that can be killers of this dream, don’t allow the comfort of today to kill your spirits. That fire you have in you today that is what you should use to propel the action that is required of you. For me, I am fulfilled. I sleep and wake up with so much satisfaction knowing that the goals we set for ourselves are being achieved.

“We want a situation whereby by the time four years is over, we will continue on our own without blinking.  I thank you all for what you have done in the last four years of this race that we started.  We must say No to Strike in this institution because for this programme, we will have international students. We must be focused on finding alternatives to our disputes. We have entered the big league but entering it is not the issue but remaining in it,” he added.

Earlier, the Deputy Director of the Centre, Prof. Tunde Owolabi in his welcome remark on the aims and objectives of the ACEITSE said the event is an institutionalization of the university to a world class institution.  “The aim is to improve the quantity, quality and developmental impact of postgraduate education.”

“After a competitive process, our University emerged as one of the 10 Centres of Excellence in the country. We aim at producing critical mass of Masters STEM Teachers. The Centre will run the following programmes: MSc STEM education and Entrepreneurship, PhD STEM Education and Entrepreneurship, PhD in ICT Education with specialization in Artificial Intelligence, We aim to produce critical mass of quality Masters STEM teachers and Improve critical mass of STEM Master’s stem teachers.” He explained.

In his goodwill message, Coordinator, Africa Centre of Excellence Dr. John Attah, , who sent a video message congratulated the Lagos State University and stated that the Centre will become a reference point for other Centres in Nigeria. “For the students, we are sure you have made a good choice by joining the ACEITSE Centre in the University. As you join the elite students, I trust you have also prepared your mind for the challenges ahead. We trust that you will get the necessary support and you will turn out to be the best among your peers.”

Secretary-General, Association of African Universities, AAU, Prof. Etienne Ehile in his remarks said looking at the caliber and professional qualification of the ACETSE team from LASU, led by Prof. Peter Okebukola is not a surprise that LASU was selected as one of the universities to host the Centre.

“The key developmental challenge that the Centre seeks to address is to improve the quality of STEM teachers in Nigeria. We look forward to the successful implementation of the programmes aimed at improving quality of STEM education in Nigeria.

Prof. Jamil Salmi of World Bank disclosed at the programme that STEM Education has become a top priority and against that backdrop, “ I congratulate you for emerging an a ACEITSE Center. You are now part of elite institutions in Africa.  I hope that you appreciate fully the privilege of having Prof. Peter Okebukola serving as Director of your Centre of Excellence.

“He is renowned not only in Africa but in the world. You cannot be in better hands.  Your purpose is not only to conduct great researches but become responsible citizens that can contribute to the development of Africa.”

Prior to the opening ceremony, Director of the Centre, Prof Okebukola took the Vice Chancellor and dignitaries around the facility on an inspection tour.

Members of the University Management, Deans, Director and Heads of Centres, Academic and Non-Academic members of Staff were at the grand opening.

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