Since their existence, African universities have been noted to be more of teaching institutions with teaching as their primary function, in this lecture titled” Redesigning African Universities for Today’s Challenges” Prof Godfrey Nzamujo calls for a paradigm shift in the role and missions of universities.
Prof Godfrey Nzamujo OP, who is the Director of Songhai Centre, Port Novo (an international non-governmental organization involved in boosting integrated farming) gave the 1st distinguished lecture of the Dominican University, Ibadan on 15th of November, 2018.
In his presentation, the Professor of Engineering stressed that African universities must cease from operating a system where all is periphery, a circle of disciplinary and professional strongholds, jostling for position and resources to undertake a common project of a “new society”.
“Our collective mission should be focusing on how to harness new technologies, opportunities to create dynamic linkages and synergies within Agriculture (livestock, Fish and crops) and between Agriculture, Health Science, Industry and services. We must therefore stop creating unemployment by training people for the jobs of yesterday.
“It is high time we refrain from our unit approach of addressing our challenges and rather adopt the systemic method. The systemic approach creates a reverse entropy (syntropy) at every level by constantly creating new biological capitals and effectively recycling non-biological capitals, this approach will help us to pass from our present logic of scarcity to a logic of abundance.
“In other climes, we are now seeing interdisciplinary teams of scientists and engineers analyzing the detailed chemistry and molecular structures of nature’s most complex materials to use them as models for new biotechnologies and development.
“I believe that when we begin to see our planet from a world view, we will be in a better position to design and re-engineer our way out of current crises. This paradigm shift has to be appropriated and deployed if we are really committed to creating, designing and inventing organizations, industries, economic activities that would solve our present day problems.
Developing new technologies inspired by nature should be the mandate of universities of tomorrow and I think that the relevance of universities depend on how much they align their mission to this vision
“Within a systemic paradigm, Nigeria can considerably increase its agricultural production without destroying the environment by efficiently harnessing the biological capital of our country and developing and deploying authentic technologies, regenerative agriculture and agro-ecological practices.
“We can leapfrog productivity in a sustainable manner and Produce more and better with less.
“Increasing agricultural productivity through the direct use of solar energy, the recycling and valorization of plant and animal residues by microorganisms would create an unbelievable opportunity sets for job and wealth creation.
“We must recognize that conventional farming is inefficient. This is due to the low utilization of solar energy. In general, the utilization rate of photosynthesis is less than 3% even under optimal conditions and the best way to increase production of biomass is to use approximately 80% of the solar energy that cannot be used by the chloroplasts.
“Once a systemic view of life has been embraced by our scientists, engineers, political and corporate leaders, we can imagine radically different kinds of products and services emerging from new integrated platform of technologies, from artificial intelligence (AI), biotech, sustainable Agriculture, health care to space technologies etc.”