“Academic freedom and innovation thrive better when there is democracy” – UI Professor Says

By – Aduwo Ayodele

A former Provost of the College of Medicine and Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Professor Akinyinka Omigbodun, has suggested that a composite model of interventions to improve tertiary education in Nigeria.

(Professor Omigbodun while speaking.)

Professor Omigbodun gave the recommendation while delivering the third part of the 44th University Lecture, titled “From Cells to Systems: Building a Vibrant Academy.”

The University lecture served as the climax to the series of inaugural lectures for the 2022/2023 academic session, delivered in three parts.

Professor Omigbodun noted that the four key issues of financing, democracy, the national economy, and training/retention of personnel are required to better the state of tertiary education.

“Financing is needed for infrastructure, research support, scholarships, and competitive wages” Professor Omigbodun said.

Stating the need to embrace academic freedom and innovations, Professor Omigbodun emphasized on the respect for the freedom of expression.

“Academic freedom and innovation thrive better when there is democracy, defined as the rule of law, societal peace, freedom of expression, and collegial decision-making” the Don added.

The national economy, Professor Omigbodun said, ‘determines how good the municipal infrastructure and services and employment outlook will be after training’.

Concerned about the future, Professor Omigbodun said leaders at all levels must pave the way in building a shared vision, encourage mentorship, and empower new leaders to emerge in preparation for transition to ensure continuity in the system.

Also, Professor Omigbodun has admonished that the interventions by TETFund should stick strictly to infrastructure, while adding that other mechanisms should be explored for research funding and for staff development in universities.

“Salaries of academics and other staff in the universities must be competitive with what is obtainable in other sectors of the economy and comparable to what other countries at the same level of development as Nigeria are offering to personnel in their university systems” Professor Omigbodun noted.

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