Some key policy makers and over 40 renowned scholars in the training of Doctoral students from Nigeria, Africa, America and Europe have stressed the need to produce PhD holders with the good character and quality attributes essential to accelerate the development of the African continent.
The scholars, led by a former Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC) and Professor of Science Education at the Lagos State University (LASU), Peter Okebukola made the call during a virtual online lecture, organised by the Lagos State University Africa Centre of Excellence for Innovative and Transformative STEM Education (LASU-ACEITSE) for doctoral stu dents in the centre.
According to the scholars, since education and character go together, there is the urgent need for African scholars to spice up their qualifications, especially PhD holders with good character that have the potential to bridge every loophole in the system.
The lecture entitled: “Africa Needs PhD Holders of Good Character: Key Pathways,” was delivered by the former President and Founder of Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library Foundation, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. In his lecture, the former President, who noted that more Doctorate Degree holders imbued with character are what Africa required at this period of its development strides for the continent’s progress, development and growth in all sectors of the economy.
Obasabjo, who reiterated the critical role of university education in the growth of Africa, said that four cardinal areas needed to enhance the development of any country are government services, industry/private sector, academia; as well as innovation and research.
While underscoring the importance of PhD, which he described as the pinnacle of formal education in the system, which according to him, must be spiced by good character, Obasanjo said PhD without character and good attributes is nullity.
“PhD without character will only pull the holder down; and if it does not pull him down, it will never elevate him; but to remain stagnant,” he insisted, saying confidence, competence, courage, communication, teamwork, trust, humility, equity and justice, knowledge and understanding are those quality and attributes PhD holders should possess.
Meanwhile, Okebukola, the Director of the LASU Centre, who also re-emphasised the importance of character in the Doctoral students, said the STEM Educators, who will pass through the Centre would be imbued with good character and attributes of quality scholars. He, therefore, pledged that the lectures on three-week Special LASU- ACEITSE Course on Character Training for PhD Trainees in Africa as delivered by various eminent scholars would be published into a book for scholars in African and glob
ally in view of the critical role character play in education. In her remarks, the Programme Manager, Africa Centres of Excellence for Development Impact, Association of African Universities (AAU), Accra, Ghana, Dr. Sylvia Mkandaweri, however, encouraged the PhD students to make good use of the course, saying good character would impact meaningfully in every aspect of Africa life.
Other contributors, including the Emeritus Professor Nimi Briggs; former Minister, Dr. Nike Akande; Vice-Chancellor of UNIABUJA, Prof. AbdulRasheed Na’Allah; former Vice-Chancellor of Caleb University, Prof. Ayandiji Aina; ex-Vice-Chancellor of OAU, Prof. Michael Faborode; Prof. Gbamanja from Sierra-Leone; Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, Vice-Chancellor of UNILAG; Dr. Suleiman Raon-Yusuf, Deputy Executive Secretary NUC; Prof. Goski, Presiden, LAWEH Open University, Ghana; Prof. Idowu Olayinka, Vice-Chancellor, UI; and Prof. A. Atayero, Vice- Chancellor, Covenant University, among others described character as a bedrock of African traditional education, saying that character policy as quality assurance in the institutions would be reinforced as part of programmesintheuniversity curriculum.
In his over 40 minutes lecture on ZOOM platform, Obasanjo, however, pointed out that education and character should go together, since education without character is useless and tasteless.
Therefore, he urged institutions to, as a matter of policy and priority, award their certificates to scholars and graduates who are worthy in learning and character.